The Ministry of Health (MoH) has taken delivery of an additional 500,000 doses of the Measles-Rubella vaccine, one of the three routine childhood vaccines that were in short supply.
The MoH said by the close of the month, it would receive varying quantities of the Oral Poliomyelitis Vaccine (OPV) and Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) for tuberculosis (TB).
Briefing journalists at the national cold room in Accra last Tuesday, the sector Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said the government was still beefing up its stocks.
“We anticipate that by the close of the month, we will get various quantities of all three vaccines that were in short supply. The problem is getting over,” he said.
He explained that there was nothing wrong sourcing vaccines from neighbouring countries that had excess stock and could replace them later.
“Bringing vaccines from Nigeria or any neighbouring country is an industrial practice, where from time to time countries that run out of vaccines, with the help of the World Health Organisation (WHO), contact neighbouring countries for excess stocks for help and are later replaced,” he explained.
He said the country currently did not have a measles-rubella outbreak because the recent outbreak was contained.
The Daily Graphic, after a nationwide check, reported about the shortage of the three vaccines in the Thursday, February 23, 2023 edition of the newspaper.
Daily Graphic reporters across the country visited primary healthcare facilities to ascertain the veracity of the situation, which was confirmed by caregivers, directors and mothers.
The three vaccines are part of the 10 that give protection against 13 conditions.
Following the reportage, Mr Agyeman-Manu and the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, on different platforms, acknowledged the shortage and assured the public that the government was working hard to accelerate the restocking of those vaccines.
The minister told Parliament last week that the government had paid an additional $6.4 million to UNICEF to facilitate the procurement and delivery of the vaccines.
On March 11, this year, the MoH received the first consignment of vaccines after the shortage, which was enough for six weeks.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye told the Daily Graphic that the government had procured stocks that were enough to last beyond this year, but they were being received in batches.
He reiterated the fact that the children who were not vaccinated earlier were at no risk of complications because of the little lapse and encouraged families to avail their eligible children for vaccination.
Vaccination is a routine for babies from birth through to 18 months.
Babies at birth are administered with BCG, OPV and hepatitis B.
The next, which follow when the baby is six weeks old, are OPV 1, Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), six infectious diseases that are particularly dangerous to babies.
Combined vaccination enables maximum protection to begin as soon as possible after birth.
They are also given Pneumococcal 1 for protection against infections caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus.
Pneumococcal infections can range from ear and sinus infections to pneumonia and bloodstream infections and Rotavirus 1, a very contagious virus that causes diarrhoea.
At 10 weeks, they receive OPV 2; DPT/Hep B/ Hib 2; Pneumococcal 2 and Rotavirus 2.
At 14 weeks they are administered DPT/Hep B/ Hib 3; OPV 3; Pneumococcal and inactivated polio vaccine.
At nine months, babies are given vaccines against measles-rubella 1 and yellow fever and at 18 months they receive vaccines against measles-rubella, meningitis A and LLIN.