Dr. Kwame Amponsah-Achiano, Programmes Manager at the Expanded Programme on Immunization(EPI) at the Ghana Health Service(GHS) has blamed the delay and challenges with the execution of the second jab of the COVID-19 vaccines to the recipients due to problems with internet challenge to synchronize recorded data with the database.
He said this in an interview with Berla Mundi on the New Day show on TV3, Monday, May 24.
Dr. Amponsah-Achiano was speaking on the heels of the challenges faced by personnel of the Expanded Programme on Immunization(EPI) to locate the records of the recipients of the first jab of the vaccines to synchronize them with the national database to be able to execute the second phase.
He said “you recall about three or four days ago, the Director General held a press briefing that was hosted by the Honorable Minister of Information where we discussed some of these things and that the interval between doses of the AstraZeneca, the first and the second doses were going to be as close to 12 weeks as possible, as the evidence adduced to that fact. And so that is what we are working on, it’s not about enough vaccines or not enough vaccines, we are working with that guidance that the closer you are to 12 weeks or soon after your first dose, the better it is for the second dose. So that is what we are working on as a policy.
“Now, the first one, we acknowledge that we have some challenges but of course the data team in all the districts and our gallant health workers have tried to manage this as much as possible. Especially the regional directors and the deputy directors they have done quite well, coming back to your substantive question, yes so far in spite of all the challenges we have had about 140,000 people vaccinated by record”.
He went on to say that “so we still have data sitting on our laptops and tablets that are not synched with the database yet but so far so good, we are on course. Because we have had a lot of challenges downloading data, it’s been a big challenge. And remember we have gone paperless so going back to paper will be a lot difficult and it will not even be wise once we have transactional data that is what we want to work with.
“So yes we have challenges but we have tried to manage those challenges and we apologise to those who were hard-pressed in terms of visiting the facilities and not being vaccinated on that same day. But just to reassure people that for anybody who had a vaccine from the 1st to 9th of March, the second dose is reserved and it’s not going to be given to anybody else”.
When asked what happens if anyone walks into the facilities with their card and is told to hold on because their name is not on the system, replied that “that is why we are using a multiplicity of entry points to get into the database. So as we went on surmounting some of these challenges, we also did educate our people to use what we call “the offline versions”, we have quite a multiple means of getting that. We only plead with people to exercise patience a little when they don’t find their names, they will surely be catered for once they have the card and proof of vaccination for the first dose”.
By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana