Ghana is among 92 countries that will receive a no-fault compensation claim of serious side effects for people who are vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine acquired from the COVAX facility.
This follows an agreement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that a no-fault-lump sum would be provided for serious COVAX vaccine side effects to reduce the need for resorting to the law courts, a potentially lengthy and costly process.
Dr Kwame Amponsa -Achiano, Programme Manager for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview that Ghana was part of the COVAX facility and “certainly part of the compensation system by extension.”
The COVID-19 Vaccine, Global Access (COVAX) facility, is a global initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines to all countries regardless of their wealth.
WHO said COVAX had been created to maximise the world’s chances of successfully developing COVID-19 vaccines and manufacture them in quantities needed to end the pandemic.
Dr Amponsa-Achiano said the compensation was monetary, but unsure how much people who developed side effects as a result of the COVAX vaccine would receive.
He explained that “vaccines save lives, but because we are giving it to people who are not sick, some might genuinely be reactive to the ingredients within the vaccine and when it happens, such a person will have to be compensated.”
He said Ghana would receive about half a million of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses by Friday, February 26, 2021, saying, “we have not yet received the documentation to know the exact doses of vaccines to expect, but the vaccines are on the way, they were airlifted yesterday from Bombay, and we are tracking them.”
Dr Franklin Asiedu- Bekoe, Director of Public Health, Ghana Health Service, also told the GNA that Ghana would not restrict itself to any particular vaccine but will opt for any safe and approved vaccine irrespective of the cost.
“We first opted for AstraZeneca, not because of cost but because it is safe and factors in our existing cold chain,” he added.
He said Ghana wrote a letter to all COVID-19 manufacturing companies and only two have responded so far.
“It was acquired at no cost and the vaccination will begin a week after the arrival among front line healthcare workers, top government officials, and persons with underlining health conditions,” he said.
COVAX offers doses for at least 20 percent of a country’s population for free.
The Facility, being championed by the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (GAVI), the WHO, and other international organisations, aims at having two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine available by the end of 2021 to protect the vulnerable and frontline healthcare workers.
Dr Asiedu-Bekoe said vaccination for the first target groups would be through existing health facilities for a more organised exercise.
He said Ghana had also applied for Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine and that the Russian Company had earmarked about 10 million doses for Ghana at a minimum cost of 10 dollars per dose.
A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease and vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases before they come into contact with them.