Ghana is expecting about four million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the next three weeks, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, has announced.
Out of the four million, 3.5 million would be from Pfizer.
Mr Oku-Afari made the disclosure in Accra last Friday when he received 30 ultra-low temperature vaccine freezers presented to the Ghana government.
The UNICEF Representative in Ghana, Ms Anne-Claire Dufay, and the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Tsutomu Himeno, presented the freezers to Mr Oku-Afari and the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye.
The cost of the freezers was funded by the Japanese government through a programme coordinated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Mr Oku-Afari said between March and September this year, over two million people had taken at least one jab of COVID-19 vaccine.
“Out of the number, 825,706 are fully vaccinated. That is, they have received either two doses of AstraZeneca or Sputnik-V or one dose of Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” he said.
Mr Oku-Afari said the freezers were critical to enhancing the country’s vaccine storage capacity.
“The freezers will enable the country to access ultra-low temperature vaccines,” he said.
Ms Dufay said that the freezers were to be handed over to 12 regional health directorates, five teaching hospitals, 10 regional hospitals, two quasi-government hospitals and one private hospital.
She said it was important for the public to take advantage of the vaccination exercise against COVID-19 to stay healthy.
“Data is showing that people who have ended up in hospitals and seriously infected by the virus are those who have not taken the vaccine,” she said.
Mr Himeno said the government of Japan was excited about the support being offered to Ghana because it was concerned about the health of the people.
He added that the move was also to strengthen the bond between the Japanese government and the Government of Ghana.
“It is important to provide healthcare services to people, but it will be better if you prevent people from becoming patients, so vaccination is crucial,” he said.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye indicated that the ultra-low temperature freezers were not limited to storing COVID-19 vaccines, but all others that required ultra-low temperature such as the Pfizer.
He expressed appreciation to the Japanese government and the UNICEF for the support, adding that the move presented an opportunity for the country to take up more vaccines.