Government’s decision to reschedule the administration of the second dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine has attracted caution and criticism from the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nabdam, Dr Mark Kurt Nawaane.
Dr Nawaane, a Deputy Ranking Member of the Parliament’s Health Committee, observes that Ghana is at a crossroads owing to a ‘disappointing’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government and warns that failure to implement the second-dose vaccination programme within the required period may crush the country’s hope of economic recovery.
“Ghana is at a crossroads and the uncertainty over a possible third wave from a mutant strain is real. The country has difficulties achieving a zero infection goal. Our inability to meet our timelines in implementing our vaccination program leaves the country’s hope for economic rebound in limbo,” the lawmaker cautioned.
His reaction is contained in a press statement issued hours after the government had announced at a press briefing that the second-dose vaccination exercise would be put on hold for four weeks.
Below is a copy of Dr Nawaane’s press statement:
Government fails to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines for the second dose administration
We have learnt with trepidations that Government will not deliver on its promise to provide timely vaccines for the second dose administration to the citizenry. You will recall that the country was classified as one of the poorest countries and donated with AstraZeneca and other vaccines. They were received with jubilation and fanfare by the Minister of Health at the airport. As a nation we implemented the administration of the first dose without a hitch except for the 2000 COVID-19 vaccines that expired in the Northern region of Ghana.
Just when there seemed to be a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel in the country’s long fight against COVID-19, the NPP government yesterday during a press briefing stated that it had become necessary to postpone the administration of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine for 4 weeks. What we need to know is the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered from after 2 weeks up to 12 weeks.
The original plan of the health experts in the country was to administer the second dose on the 8th week which was optimal; if there will be any spillover, it will be on the 9th to 12th week. The spillover will then be within the acceptable time.
Also the second dose is expected to be a booster dose to sustain the production and maintenance of high level of antibodies among the populace. It is worth noting that COVID-19 vaccine has neutralizing effect where the virus can no longer harm you much after vaccination but no sterilizing effect as a vaccinated person with COVID-19 can infect others.
In conclusion, Ghana is at a crossroads and the uncertainty over a possible third wave from a mutant strain is real. The country has difficulties achieving a zero infection goal. Our inability to meet our timelines in implementing our vaccination program leaves the country’s hope for economic rebound in limbo.
We therefore appeal to Government to put in the extra effort to obtain the vaccines from other sources to timely implement the administration of the second dose to the citizenry.