SHAIP Africa has urged Ghanaians to accept the malaria vaccine without any panic but rather trust in the competence of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
This is because vaccines used by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) are approved by the requisite local and international bodies, while proper measures are always put in place to ensure that the beneficiaries were safe.
“SHAIP Africa would also like to urge the FDA to ensure an effective Pharmacovigilance progamme as they do for all newly introduced vaccines as a matter of public interest to maintain the continuous trust of Ghanaians in the FDA Ghana and in vaccines.”
These were contained in a press statement, signed by Mr Clement Clinton Blay, Chief Executive Officer of the pro-health Non Governmental Organisation, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, on Thursday.
SHAIP Africa said over the years, vaccines had been of substantial help to Ghana and Africa as a whole, therefore, the malaria vaccine should not be met with hostility as a section of the public were doing out of naivety.
The Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), adopted by Ghana in 1978, has about 13 vaccines in use in the country as well as some parts of Africa.
“As a reminder, these include vaccines for Polio, Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Yellow Fever, Measles, and Meningitis among others… the benefits of which could never be downplayed,” SHAIP Africa said.
It urged the pharmaceutical industry and other stakeholders to join in the fight, with the conviction that the fight against malaria was a multifaceted one.
Vaccinations work by boosting the body’s immune system’s ability to fight certain infections by teaching the immune system to recognise and fight specific organisms so that when they are exposed to them, there is a much lower risk of getting sick.
GlaxoSmithKline plc (gsk) a British multinational pharmaceutical company, has led the development of malaria vaccine over decades.
The Phase three trial of the malaria vaccine was conducted by the company, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a network of African research centres over five years from 2009, in seven sub-Saharan African countries.
They are Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and the United Republic of Tanzania, enrolling approximately 15,500 infants and young children.
Children who received four doses of the vaccine have a significantly lower risk of developing malaria
Following a joint review, convened by the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum (AVAREF) in May 2018, the National Regulatory Authorities of Ghana, Kenya and Malawi authorised the vaccine for use in Ghana, Malawi and Kenya, who are participating in this pilot project.