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COVID-19: Akufo-Addo sets new deadline for vaccinating 20 million Ghanaians

With the year winding to a close, President Nana Akufo-Addo has backed down from the initial target to vaccinate 20 million Ghanaians before the end of 2021.

He now views the end of the first quarter of 2022 as a more feasible target.

“That 20 million target, we may not (be able to) reach (it) this year. But we believe by the end of the first quarter next year, we would have attained (it),” he said in a Q&A with Forbes Africa on December 23.

The 20 million target is expected to cover Ghana’s adult population and the President feels “that in itself gives us all the immunity we need. So… it is a really important target.”

President Akufo-Addo also reiterated the government’s commitment to producing its own vaccines.

“We are in the process of creating a national vaccine institute led by very capable and world-class Ghanaian scientists, and we are hoping that by next year, it will be up and running, so we can find strong capabilities to find vaccines for our people.”

Ghana currently has 2.6 million fully vaccinated persons out of its over 30 million population.

There are concerns that Ghana has a growing problem of vaccine hesitancy.

The government declared the final month of 2021 as the month of vaccinations to counter these concerns.

This was accompanied by vaccine mandates like the directive to all persons to be vaccinated on arrival at the Kotoka International Airport before they can be permitted to enter the country.

The vaccine hesitancy concerns come as Ghana is contending with a fourth wave of COVID-19 following the emergence of the Omicron variant of the virus.

On December 19, Ghana had 3,165 active cases of the virus.

This figure stands at 9,534 cases as of December 25.

In all, Ghana has had 141,295 confirmed cases of the virus with 1,287 deaths.

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