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Photos: Akufo-Addo and wife receive COVID-19 jab to prove safety

President Akufo-Addo and his wife Rebecca Akufo-Addo have taken the COVID-19 vaccine jab publicly to assure the country of its safety.

The two had their first shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine at about 9 am on Monday, March 1, at the 37 Military Hospital.

The event was telecast live across major news networks to boost public confidence in the country’s vaccination programme against COVID-19.

Dressed in African attire, President Akufo-Addo’s details were taken, and he was issued a unique COVID-19 vaccination number.

Subsequently, he received a bar code and was enrolled on the national COVID-19 vaccine database.

He then proceeded to the vaccination area, where a health official injected the shoulder of his left arm with the contents of the COVID-19 vaccine vial.

Mr Akufo-Addo did not show any signs of discomfort and interacted with the health officials throughout the process.

He was ushered to a resting area to sit for about 10 minutes as health officials observed for any reactions to the vaccine.

In a short speech prior to the injection, Mr Akufo-Addo said, “It is important that I set the example that this vaccine is safe by being the first to have it so that everybody in Ghana can feel comfortable about taking the vaccine”.

He highlighted the importance of the vaccination and encouraged every member of the public to receive the vaccination.

He thanked the Commandant of the 37 Military Hospital, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and everyone who has made it possible for the vaccination.

When it got to her turn, Mrs Akufo-Addo was jittery and turned her face in the opposite direction to avoid watching the syringe which contained the vaccine.

She was all smiles after the injection process.

Ghana is expected to roll out its worldwide vaccination programme on Tuesday, March 2, after receiving an initial 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The consignment is part of an initial tranche of 2.4million vaccines manufactured and licensed by the Serum Institute of India (Coviahield).

The vaccines were acquired through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX).

Key public officials such as the Speaker and Members of Parliament, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature, Chairperson and Members of the Council of State, the Chief of Staff and senior officials at the Office of the President, and prominent personalities like some Eminent Clergy, the National Chief Imam, the Asantehene, the Ga Mantse, and some media practitioners will also, on Tuesday, take the jab publicly.

Akufo-Addo dispels myths about the COVID-19 vaccine

President Akufo-Addo had dispelled myths and misconception about the vaccines, including perceptions of impotence and sterilisation of Africans.

“Taking the vaccine will not alter your DNA; it will not embed a tracking device in your body, neither will it cause infertility in women or in men,” he assured in an address the previous day.

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has approved the AstraZeneca COVID-19 and Russia’s Sputnik V for administration in Ghana.

Vaccination programme outline

The first batch of Ghana’s COVID-19 vaccines will be given to persons in 43 areas identified as hotspots of the infection that has claimed 607 lives with 5,444 active cases.

A total of 25 of the epicentres are in the Greater Accra, 16 are located in Ashanti Region, and two in the Central Region.

Ghana plans to vaccinate 20 million by the end of 2020.

The vaccination will be rolled out in segments.

Group 1 is categorised as “persons most at risk and frontline State officials”.

It includes healthcare workers, frontline security personnel, persons with underlying medical conditions, persons sixty (60) years and above, and frontline members of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.

Group 2 is made up of other essential service providers and the rest of the security agencies.

It includes water and electricity supply services, teachers and students, supply and distribution of fuels, farmers and food value chain, telecommunications services, air traffic and civil aviation control services, meteorological services, air transport services, waste management services, media, public and private commercial transport services, the Police Service, Armed Forces, Prisons Service, Immigration Service, National Fire Service, CEPS Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, and other members of the Executive, Judiciary, and Legislature.

Group 3 consists of the rest of the general public that is all persons over eighteen (18) years, except for pregnant women.

The final group, that is Group 4, will include pregnant mothers and persons under the age of eighteen (18), and they will be vaccinated when an appropriate vaccine, hopefully, is found or when enough safety data on the present vaccines are available.

Special arrangements will be made for persons with disabilities who fall within these groups.

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