The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said routine childhood immunisation for the three conditions that has been interrupted due to shortage of vaccines has been restored.
This follows the arrival of a consignment of the vaccines in the country over the weekend and their subsequent distribution across the country.
Although the immunisation resumes today, on island and hard-to-reach communities, it will resume tomorrow due to transportation time.
The vaccines that have been in short supply since the last quarter of last year are Measles-Rubella, Oral Poliomyelitis Vaccine (OPV) and Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) for tuberculosis (TB).
The Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that the government had procured stocks that were enough to last beyond this year, but they were being received in batches.
He said the first consignment would take not less than six weeks, stressing that it was absolutely free from any charges.
He said more vaccines would be coming in the course of the week up to two weeks.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye appealed to parents of eligible children to visit their respective child welfare clinics to get their children vaccinated.
He explained that the GHS was going to continue with the routine process with an in-facility catch-up strategy put in place to vaccinate children who missed their vaccines.
“We are going to boost our human resource capacity at the various welfare clinics to cater for any bulge in numbers caused by the shortage,” he said, adding: “In places where health
facilities are already doing outreaches to increase access and ensure no child is left out, such arrangements will continue.”
He said with the help of Zipline, drones would be used to serve very distant communities.
“We will go into the communities and announce the availability of the vaccines, so that the families of eligible children will know,” the GHS Director-General said.
He reminded the public that the vaccines were absolutely for free, and that people should, under no circumstance, pay for them.
“They are BCG, OPV and measles, with accompanying devices — needles, syringes and safety equipment,” he said.
“Regional cold chain vans have been deployed with consignments to their various regional cold rooms for onward distribution to the districts and facilities from today,” he added.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye reiterated the fact that the children who were not vaccinated earlier were at no risk of complications because of the little lapse and encouraged families to avail their eligible children for vaccination.
The Daily Graphic, after a nationwide check, reported about the shortage of the three vaccines in the Thursday, February 23, 2023 edition of the newspaper.
The situation was perceived to have the potential to increase the vulnerability of children to the diseases against which the vaccines sought to protect them.
Daily Graphic reporters across the country visited primary healthcare facilities to ascertain the veracity of the situation, which was confirmed by caregivers, directors and mothers.
The three vaccines are part of the 10 that give protection against 13 conditions.
Following the reportage, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, and Dr Kuma-Aboagye, and on different platforms, acknowledged the shortage and assured the public that the government was working hard to accelerate the restocking of those vaccines.
The minister told Parliament last week that the government had paid an additional $6.4 million to UNICEF to facilitate the procurement and delivery of the vaccines.