The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and Metropolitan Health Directorate have stepped up public education on the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
The objective, according to the authorities, is to encourage the citizenry to make themselves available for inoculation against the novel coronavirus.
“It is in our interest to receive the vaccines because that is the only way out to ensure the safety of Ghanaians in the face of the threats posed by the pandemic,” Mr Thomas Quaison, Health Promotion Officer at the Directorate, noted.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has said the vaccination exercise would begin in the first week of March this year with a focus on Greater Accra, and Greater Kumasi, the two designated hotspots in the country.
Mr Quaison, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Kumasi, on the sidelines of a COVID-19 sensitization programme for vulnerable groups, observed that the vaccination was the way to go.
According to the Ghana Health Service’s (GHS) portal on the pandemic, the country had as of February 25, this year, recorded 584 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year.
Mr. Quaison said the country could not take chances given how the pandemic had decimated most economies in the world.
Some civil society organizations, opinion leaders and a cross section of the populace have expressed apprehension about the vaccination exercise, especially relating to the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
This comes in the wake of the recent receipt by the government of the first batch of 600, 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines donated by the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The consignment puts Ghana in a pole position as the first country in West Africa to begin vaccinating its population, following authorization by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
Mr Quaison said initially, the exercise would target frontline health and security personnel, the judiciary and other key personalities, saying the GHS was working with key stakeholders to foster a smooth take-off.
He said the Metropolitan Health Directorate had stepped up its public educational campaigns on the exercise to help address concerns of the public over the vaccine’s efficacy, safety and anticipated side effects.
Mr Michael Agyemang, Director of Planning, KMA, representing the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE), Mr. Osei Assibey-Antwi, said the sensitization programme was held jointly under the auspices of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), CUF and VNG, two international local government-based organizations.
Dubbed ‘COVID Support Project for Greater Kumasi’, the aim was to expose the participants, including persons with disability as well as HIV/AIDS patients to the dangers of the pandemic.
Mr Agyemang assured that the KMA would not relent in working closely with CUF and VNG to alleviate the plight of the vulnerable and poor in the society whose lives had been worse off, following the outbreak of COVID-19.
The two organizations recently donated quantities of food items and personal protective items such as face masks and sanitizers to the needy within Greater Kumasi.
The Director of Planning cautioned residents of the metropolis to always observe the COVID-19 safety protocols.