Ghana is to get its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine by March, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced.
In a televised national address Sunday to apprise the nation on measures being adopted to curtail the spread of the pandemic, the President said government would make available some 17.6 million vaccine doses by the end June 2021, to meet its target to have at least half of the Ghanaian population administered jabs.
Government, he said, aimed to vaccinate the entire population, but had set an initial target to give jabs to 20 million Ghanaians.
Allaying public skepticism and fears concerning the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, President Akufo-Addo assured Ghanaians that the shots to be procured would be subjected to the thorough established processes of the Food and Drugs Administration before an emergency use authorisation would be granted for its use in the country.
"As President of the Republic, I assure you those only vaccines that have been evaluated and declared as safe-for-use in Ghana will be administered," he stressed.
The President, following the surge in coronavirus cases in the over the last two weeks, has reintroduced the ban on social gathering.
Funerals, weddings, concerts are banned until further notice. But private burials with not more than 25 people can take place, with strict adherence to hygiene and safety protocols.
Beaches, night clubs, cinemas, and pubs are to remain shut, and Ghana's land and sea borders also remain closed.
The country, from early January 2021, has witnessed a worsening case count, with hospitals and isolation centres being overwhelmed.
As at Sunday, January 31, the total number of active cases had more than doubled in a forth night from 1900 to 5,358. And the number of critically and severely ill persons has increased, with a daily rate of some 700 infections.
President Akufo-Addo said Government would continue to monitor the situation, and ensure that the country returned to normal daily routines.
However, Ghanaians should observe the set protocols to curb the pandemic, in order not to slide the country into further social and economic hardship.
"In effect, fellow Ghanaians, we have a lot of work to do in coming to grips with the disease. Given that recent studies show that the UK and other new variants are being transmitted within the population, we should all understand that our current situation could get very dire if efforts are not made, both on the part of Government and by you, the citizenry, to help contain the virus.
"I remain hopeful that if each one of us embraces fully the safety protocols, and we continue to put our faith in the Almighty, we will emerge strongly from this pandemic," he said.