AstraZeneca vaccine no longer administered in Ghana, says GHS 

AstraZeneca is withdrawing its COVID-19 vaccine worldwide, months after admitting the drug could cause very rare but life-threatening injuries

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has announced that AstraZeneca vaccines will no longer be administered in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the director general of the Ghana Health Service, said that the GHS had not bought the AstraZeneca COVID vaccines in the past two years and he urged those who had already taken them not to panic.

He gave this assurance as he toured health facilities in Ga East for the COVID-19 Vaccination and Child Health Promotion Week/African Vaccination Week campaign.

The announcement follows reports in international media that AstraZeneca has withdrawn its COVID-19 vaccination worldwide after admitting that the medication could cause very rare but life-threatening complications.

In Ghana, a total of 10,545,038 AstraZeneca vaccine doses were administered.

Surplus updates

Dr Kuma-Aboagye suggested that AstraZeneca’s decision to withdraw its COVID-19 vaccines from the global market was driven by commercial considerations.

He offered assurances that no adverse events had been reported because of administering AstraZeneca shots in Ghana, adding that the only vaccine now available in the system was Johnson & Johnson.

AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish company, withdrew its EU marketing authorisation for the vaccine, Vaxzevria, formerly commonly known as Covishield, in 2021.

The authorisation gives approval to market a drug in the member states of the European Union. The withdrawal was due to a “surplus of available updated vaccines” against new variants of the novel coronavirus, the company said.

Dr Michael Adjabeng, surveillance officer for World Health Organization Ghana, said that his office, in collaboration with the Food and Drugs Authority, would ensure that the best vaccine was available to the public.

Recently the country was recording only five active cases of COVID-19.

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