Yaw Bediako, PhD joined a distinguished panel of Ghana’s healthcare leaders and government representatives to engage the public on the nation’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out plan. The event, held on 19th February 2021 at Alisa Hotel North Ridge and broadcast live on national television, was hosted by the Minister of Information Designate Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah. The speakers included the Minister of Health Designate Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Director General of Ghana Health Service Hon. Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Programme Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority, Mrs. Delese Mimi Darko.
Dr. Bediako presented a brief history of vaccinations, from events leading up to the first vaccine administration in 1796 to the more recent developments of the Ebola and COVID-19 vaccines in 2019 and 2020 respectively. He illustrated the huge impact vaccinations have made on the significant decline of cases of diseases like diphtheria, poliomyelitis and measles globally and in Ghana.
He also explained how vaccines work in general, discussed the three main approaches to making a vaccine, and broke down the three phases of clinical trials through which the safety and efficacy of vaccines are tested. He stressed that the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use worldwide have undergone rigorous validation processes, and have been approved for use by the World Health Organization.
Dr. Bediako also shared the remarkable progress made by other countries like Israel and the UK in vaccinating large percentages of their population against COVID-19, noting that very few negative reactions have been reported. He went on to dispel some of the popular myths causing fear and distrust of the COVID-19 vaccine in Ghana, and encouraged Ghanaians to embrace the vaccine, saying “the single most effective immune booster you can take is a vaccine”.
The Ghana FDA has granted emergency authorization for the use of two vaccines: Covishield (AstraZeneca) and Sputnik V. The first shipment of 350,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to arrive in Ghana in late February 2021
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