Do you know that pregnant women and children aged 15 and above can now be vaccinated in Ghana?

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ministry of Health (MoH), at a press briefing on January 19, 2022, confirmed that pregnant women could now take the vaccine – after a similar decision involving children was taken in November 2021 –  to help in efforts to defeat the virus.

“Pregnant women who are unvaccinated can now be vaccinated. Previously, it was not policy to vaccinate and now they can vaccinate and they recommended that we use either Moderna or Pfizer which is the mRNA’S technology to vaccinate them,” the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said.

Ghana’s multiphased COVID-19 vaccination programme started in March 2021, when frontline health workers and other categories of persons at high risk were prioritised.

According to the health authorities in Ghana, it has now become necessary to include the remaining population as the country is currently experiencing its fourth wave of COVID-19 infections driven by the Omicron variant.

Children aged 15 and above 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for children aged 15 and above by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

The Ghana Education Service (GES) has subsequently confirmed that the vaccination efforts would be extended to various schools to ensure children who fall within the age bracket are inoculated.

“We are by this letter requesting all regional and District Directors of Education to work closely with their colleague Regional and District Directors of Health to Facilitate the vaccination of all 15 years or older in all schools across the country,” a letter signed by the Director-General of GES, Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwah on November 18, 2021, has said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age.

The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is supported by clinical data after showing a favourable safety profile and high vaccine efficacy of 90.7% in children 5 through 11 years of age during a period when Delta was the prevalent strain.

Booster jabs

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu has also announced the country’s readiness to begin administering booster doses to persons who are fully vaccinated six months apart from the date they received the second dose.

Persons eligible for the booster dose include health workers, persons with underlying medical conditions, persons 60 years and above, frontline security personnel, members of the executive, judiciary and legislature.

COVID-19 case count

 Ghana has seen a sharp rise in its COVID-19 cases in December amidst the spread of the Omicron variant which was first detected on November 21, 2021.

As at January 22, 2022, Ghana’s total active COVID-19 cases stood at 2,101 while 1,384 people have succumbed to the virus.

According to the Ghana Health Service, 9, 745,322 vaccine doses have so far been administered across the country.

By: Gifty Tracy Aminu