Ghana’s Extended Programme on Immunisation is treating the theft of some coronavirus vaccines as an isolated incident.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, the programme’s manager, Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, says the majority of the persons associated with the programme remain credible.
Dr. Amponsa-Achiano suggested that the breach only happened because of internal compromises.
“Actually the people who have been named, we know two of them who are in-charge of vaccines, and they know the processes of accountability, so they know the inside out. Nobody from outside can do that.”
“We were quite surprised, but we have men of integrity. About 99.9 percent of our people have integrity, so we will treat it as an isolated case,” he added.
Two health officers; Stephen Dzisenu, a Disease Control Officer at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital and Lord Pabitey, a Disease Control Officer at the La Bawalashie Polyclinic, stole a combined 62 doses of the vaccine.
The vaccine was delivered to one Cosmos Allotey, an Occupational Health and Safety Officer, who allegedly administered the vaccines at a cost of GHS200 per jab.
Joseph Knight Gaisie, a Project Assistant and a former Laboratory Technician at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital is also being held by police for abetment of crime.
The others, with the exception of Lord Pabitey, have also been arrested.
So far, close to 500,000 persons have received their first jab, according to Dr. Amponsa-Achiano.
In all, Ghana has received a little over 800,000 vaccines.
These included 600,000 via the COVAX facility, 50,000 from the Indian government and 165,000 from MTN.
So far Ghana has two brands of vaccine; the AstraZeneca and Sputnik V but Dr. Amponsa-Achiano said there was work ongoing to procure others.
“We’ve also sent an expression of interest within COVAX for Pfizer for which reason we are preparing the infrastructure, in terms of the cold chain,” he said.
The public discourse on the vaccine rollout has toned down since the beginning of March 2020 when Ghana took delivery of its first vaccine.
But Dr. Amponsa-Achiano indicated that public interest in getting the jab remains high.
“The conservation could be better but from our end, I wouldn’t say it has gone down because we have tonnes and tonnes of requests; so many that we can’t even meet for now.”
He also said Ghana could be taking delivery of a significant number of vaccines in April.
“We are working hard at it… indications are that by close next week or the first week in April, we should get an additional some 400,008 additional doses.”