The Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) indicates that 60% of a given population (Ghanaians) need to receive vaccination to acquire herd immunity- that is when enough people become immune to a virus making it less likely to transmit within the country.
Currently more than 3.5 million people in Africa have contracted the COVID-19 virus and around 90,000 people have died from it.
In Ghana 80,253 have contracted the virus with 73,018 recoveries and 577 deaths.
Building on RISE-Ghana’s extensive experience in health systems strengthening, health promotion and advocacy in partnership with UNICEF-Ghana C4D and Health Sections, CDD-Ghana’s Hewlette Foundation funded I Am Aware Project and as SEND Ghana Immunization Advocacy Initiative Project Champion, the following highlights are been shared to inform policy and practice.
The Ghana Health Service in line with global standards exempts children and adolescents aged 0-16 years who constitute about 31% of the population, pregnant women who constitute 4% of population and aged population of 6.7% leaves the country with only 59.3% of Ghanaians to administer COVID-19 vaccines to. There is therefore the need to effectively mobilize influencers and counter myths, rumors, fake news and the hesitancy associated with COVID-19 immuization.
Even though Ghana has an enviable record in essential vaccines immunization coverage of 90%, the current skeptism, denial and threats of rejection of COVID-19 vaccines are rife and will derail efforts to achieve herd immunity if not well managed.
Media reportage and public discourse on global and country-specific response such as the halting of the Oxford-produced AstraZeneca vaccine by South Africa and the UK should be discussed within context to avoid subtly endorsing “late acceptors” and blanket rejection by the Ghanaian population.
We must act decisively and urgently to end COVID-19 and get back our normal lives, it starts with you.
Awal Ahmed Kariama