The Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, has said the country is ready to adopt COVID-19 vaccines.
However, only vaccines that have been tested in manufacturing jurisdictions and approved by global and regional vaccine approving bodies, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), and verified locally to be safe for use, would be adopted.
Addressing the Greater Accra Regional Hospital’s virtual commemoration of Emergency Week yesterday, he also debunked rumours that the recent yellow fever mop-up vaccination was a COVID-19 vaccine testing and trial in disguise, an issue which had generated anxieties.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said the government had no intentions to try any COVID-19 vaccine on Ghanaians.
He indicated that in the interest of public health, the government was working around the clock to ensure that the people were not deprived of any globally approved and accepted vaccines.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said as part of the preparations, the government was in constant talks with the WHO and WAHO to ensure that Ghana was not left out.
Furthermore, he said, the National Information Technology Advisory Council, a technical committee responsible for the introduction and use of vaccines in the country, had started working closely with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to ensure that proper communication was done as well as ensure that only efficacious and safe vaccines were brought and used in the country.
“We are looking at all vaccines coming into the country, more importantly the risk communication aspect of vaccine introduction. The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has also charged us to facilitate the local content in bridging the local vaccine needs,” he said.
Dr Nsiah-Asare also mentioned that WAHO had charged all West African countries to collaborate to ensure that West Africans were not left behind when a COVID-19 vaccine was finally adopted globally.
“What we are looking for is a vaccine that is efficacious, safe and will be accepted by all. We are already aware of the anti-vaccine campaigners and so we are doing our homework well to address all their concerns,” he stated.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said the government was looking beyond the challenges of the global pandemic by leveraging the opportunities presented by the coronavirus disease to build a more robust and better responsive healthcare delivery system.
In doing so, the government was focusing on expanding health infrastructure and the capacity of healthcare professionals.
The presidential advisor said new infectious disease centres that would also be used as teaching facilities were being set up.
The Medical Director of the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Dr Emmanuel Srofenyo, said emergency medicine services were critical to the delivery of quality health care.
He noted that the critical role of that branch of medicine became even more clearer with the onset of COVID-19.
Dr Srofenyo said it was, therefore, laudable that the Emergency Medicine Services Department of the Greater Accra Regional Hospital organised the commemoration to dialogue on improving emergency care, letting the public appreciate the role and importance of emergency services.
He said efforts were currently underway to make the emergency services department a one-stop shop to enable the hospital to improve on the quality care it was rendering to the public.
The Greater Accra Regional Health Director, Dr Charity Sarpong, expressed gratitude to the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service for facilitating adequate stocks of personal protective equipment to protect themselves and the public.
She appealed to health workers to continue to adhere to the COVID-19 and infectious disease safety protocols in the discharge of their duties to protect themselves, their patients and the general public.