Ghana to make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for targeted groups from January

A woman receives an Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at the Ridge Hospital in Accra, Ghana on March 2, 2021. (Photo by Nipah Dennis via CFP)

Ghana will ramp up its COVID-19 inoculation campaign next month and make the vaccine mandatory for targeted groups including all public sector and health workers from January 22, this is according to the health service director-general Patrick Kuma-Aboagye has said.

Ghana, like most African nations, has seen a sluggish uptake in COVID-19 vaccinations despite an increase in supplies. Only 1.4 million people of Ghana’s population of 30 million are fully vaccinated.

The government will hold a vaccination drive in December after which the vaccine will be mandatory for employees in all arms of government, health workers, security personnel, staff and students of secondary and tertiary education, and commercial drivers, Kuma-Aboagye told a news conference.

‘Pockets of vaccine hesitancy pose a risk to gains made so far. Current low numbers recorded in the country may not be maintained if vaccine uptake not increased significantly,’ he said.

He said proof of vaccination will also be needed for nightclubs, beaches, sports stadiums and restaurants. Only 21 percent of the targeted population have received the first dose, while 7 percent are fully vaccinated, health ministry data showed. Ghana has to date recorded 131,083 coronavirus cases and 1,220 deaths.

Kuma-Aboagye said the health ministry hopes to double daily vaccinations from over 142,000 currently as the country braces for a potential surge in cases after the holiday.