Ghana will vaccinate returning citizens and residents against COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport from next Monday if they have not already received shots, its health service said, amid concerns over low take-up of vaccinations.
All Ghanaians leaving the country will also be required to show proof of vaccination, health service Director-General Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said in a statement, citing as reasons a rise in COVID-19 cases and detection of the Omicron variant.
Its newly announced vaccination requirements are among the strictest in Africa, where vaccine uptake has been slow due to lack of supply and logistical challenges.
Ghana is holding a vaccination drive this month, and from January 22 the vaccine will become mandatory for targeted groups including government employees, health workers and students.
Over the last two weeks, COVID-19 cases recorded at the Kotoka International Airport in the capital Accra accounted for about 60% of total infections in the country, said Kuma-Aboagye.
Data from the airport showed that people who tested positive were three times more likely to be unvaccinated, he said. Among 34 cases where the Omicron variant was detected, 75% of them were unvaccinated.
Ghana’s health service has recorded 131 246 cases and 1 228 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.