A large number of people yesterday thronged various vaccination centres in Accra, Tema and Kumasi to be vaccinated against the coronavirus with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
There were long queues at many of the 123 vaccination centres in the two hotspot regions, as members of the public, both young and old, waited for their turn.
The process was, however, slow in some areas due to network fluctuations for the data input on smart devices and tablets.
The sheer large numbers gave an indication that public confidence in the vaccine has increased.
Some commercial drivers in the capital called on the government to prioritise their vaccination under the COVID-19 vaccination exercise that has started.
This came to light when the Daily Graphic team visited some vaccination centres in Accra, Tema and Kumasi.
More than 177,000 people are expected to be vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccines over the next four days.
As of yesterday, the country had 6,004 active COVID-19 cases, with 522 new cases over the previous week and 930 deaths.
The vaccination centres the Daily Graphic team visited included the Korle Bu Police Station, Mamprobi Polyclinic, Chorkor Community Clinic, Mamprobi Police Station, Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Church and the Wesley Methodist Church at Palladium in Accra.
Emmanuel Bonney, Kester Aburam Korankye & Rejoice Lavinia Eklu report from Accra; Dela Russel Ocloo reports from Tema, with Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor reporting from Kumasi.
Korle Bu Police Station
At the Korle Bu Police Station centre, about 10 persons had been vaccinated as of 10:08 a.m. Other persons were seen in a queue.
A nurse from the Mamprobi Hospital, Ms Perpetual Nyarko, who was attending to the people, said the centre started the vaccination at 9 a.m. but there was a problem with the tablet being used to store the data of those who took the vaccine.
“The problem we had with the tablet slowed us down but we have been able to resolve it now,” Ms Nyarko said.
Some elderly people told the Daily Graphic that they had been in the queue for more than an hour and complained of the long waiting hours.
One of the complaints came from Mr James Cobblah, 83, who suggested that there should be a separate queue for the elderly instead of allowing everybody, old and young, to be in the same queue.
At the Chorkor Community Clinic centre where there was a short queue, Mr Andrews Quaye, a resident who described himself as a social mobiliser, said as of 10:30 a.m. 20 persons had been vaccinated.
He said there were no challenges as everything was going on smoothly.
Another resident, Osei Kofi, who had taken one jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine, said he thought he could go in for the Johnson & Johnson.
“However, when I got there the nurse said that was not possible,” he said.
Mamprobi Police Station
A foreign national, who only gave his name as Sun, told the Daily Graphic at the Mamprobi Police Station centre that it was necessary that everyone took the vaccine.
He was of the view that “when you take the vaccine, you do not protect only yourself but your colleagues and other people you will meet”.
At the Wesley Methodist Church, about 80 individuals had been vaccinated as of 12:40 p.m. at the time the Daily Graphic got there.
There was a long winding queue on the church’s premises with seats arranged one-metre apart.
Mr Solomon Sowah, 77, who went through the vaccination, said he was happy to get vaccinated, adding that “I have also called six other persons to come here to get vaccinated.
He said he had come from Teshie to Accra Central to undertake the exercise.
Seven drivers also told the Daily Graphic team that taking into account the nature of their work, which involved moving masses of people from one location to the other, the government must ensure that they were vaccinated early enough.
One of them, Mr Samuel Safo Koranteng, said the government must put in place a system that allowed commercial drivers to walk into any of the vaccination centres with their driving licence to receive express services.
“If you look at the nature of our work, you will realise that we move people daily and we meet and come into contact with all sorts of people. Some may be carrying the virus. Some are stubborn and refuse to put on nose mask so if we are vaccinated, it will help stop the spread,” he said.
Scores of residents in the Tema metropolis thronged the various vaccination centres to take the vaccine.
The exercise, which commenced at 8 a.m., saw about 300 people being vaccinated at the three centres under the Tema Community One sub-metro as of 2 p.m.
About 1,000 others also took their jabs at designated centres under the Tema General Hospital sub-metro at the same time.
The Medical Director of the Tema General Hospital, Dr Richard Anthony, told the Daily Graphic that the hospital alone had three centres, while two other centres had been created to ease congestion.
He said that the turnout at all the centres had been massive compared to the initial exercise that took place in March this year where frontline workers were vaccinated.
“Many more people have come to accept that the vaccine is safe and more so now that there are no restrictions with the age limit being expanded from 18 years and above, we are seeing younger people trooping in to be vaccinated,” Dr Anthony said.
He said that looking at the turnout, the centres under the hospital were seeking to vaccinate approximately 5,000 people, depending on the availability of the vaccines.
“The education has to continue more vigorously than before because the March vaccination saw members of the public taking things for granted, especially when the numbers started reducing drastically and knowing that the current Delta strain is even more violent compared to the initial strains of COVID-19 we were dealing with as a country,” Dr Anthony said.
The Kumasi metropolis received 50,400 doses of the vaccine, out of which 11,000 had been administered since last Friday in four districts considered to be the hotspots in the region.
Unlike in the previous exercise where things were chaotic at the vaccination centres, the process was orderly this time in the four areas: Kumasi Metropolis, Kwadaso, Oforikrom and Asokwa municipalities, where the centres are located.
At the Asokwa Health Municipal Health Directorate, people were seated under arranged canopies waiting for their turn.
The Asokwa Municipal Director of Health, Mrs Bernice Ossei, told the Daily Graphic that the directorate had received 8,000 doses of the vaccine.
She said the number for the municipality was inadequate but “we will have to manage it under the circumstance.”
From July 20 to August 14, this year, the region has recorded 392 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak of the third wave.
The region currently has 818 active cases, with 798 being managed from home and 20 on admission at treatment centres.
The region has had cumulative cases of 19,622 since the onset of the pandemic, with 18,460 recoveries and 344 deaths.
Source: Daily Graphic|Ghana