Childhood immunization vaccines will be available in ‘few weeks’ – Minister
The Ministry of Health (MOH) says it has made all necessary efforts to secure adequate stocks of vaccines for the routine childhood vaccination in the next “few weeks.”
This comes after a public outcry over the nationwide shortage of Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), Measles-Rubella (MR) and Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) for children since the last quarter of 2022.
The Health Minster, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said his ministry had been concerned about the effect of the vaccine shortage on the National Vaccination Programme which had become a major source of worry for the Ministry, its partners, caregivers and the population.
The Minister was addressing the press on the shortage of some routine childhood vaccines in the country and the outbreak of measles in the Northern Region in Accra on Tuesday.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said about GH¢72 million released to the Ministry of Health by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in 2022, had been used for the procurement of some of the childhood vaccines.
“The recent shortage in Vaccines for measles, as regrettable as it is, is symptomatic of the steady global decline in measles vaccination since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Data from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) shows that a total of 398 measles cases were recorded in the country in 2022, while 33 cases have been recorded since the beginning of this year.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there have been no deaths from the recently recorded spike in Measles cases, indeed there have been no deaths since 2003 though we have recorded cases annually,” he said.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said despite the global challenge in the acquisition of some childhood vaccinations Ghana’s immunization performance coverage remained among the best in the world, stating that in 2021 the nation recorded 95 per cent childhood vaccination coverage.
He said the Ministry of Health was working with United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), to fast-track the processes to ensure that Ghana was on track with its immunization record and quickly overcome the bottleneck.