Ghana will from Monday vaccinate returning citizens and residents against COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport, if they have not received shots.
Ghana’s Health Service Director-General, Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, made the disclosure in a statement on Friday, amid concerns over low take-up of vaccination.
He said that all Ghanaians leaving the country would also be required to show proof of vaccination because of the rise in COVID-19 cases and detection of the Omicron variant.
Ghana has so far administered vaccines to about 5.7 per cent of its population of 30 million.
Its newly announced vaccination requirements are among the strictest in Africa, where vaccine uptake has been slow due to lack of supply and logistics challenge.
According to the official, the current increase in cases, detection of the Omicron variant among international arrivals and expected increase during the festive season, call for urgent actions to prevent a major surge in COVID-19 cases in Ghana.
“Ghana is holding a vaccination drive this month, and from Jan. 22, 2022, the vaccine will become mandatory for targeted groups including government employees, health workers and students.
“From January, proof of vaccination will also be needed to access night clubs, beaches, sports stadiums and restaurants.
“Over the last two weeks, COVID-19 cases recorded at the Kotoka International Airport in the capital Accra, accounted for about 60 per cent of total infections in the country.
“Data from the airport showed that people who tested positive were three times more likely to be unvaccinated,’’ he said.
Among the 34 cases of Omicron variant detected, 75 per cent were unvaccinated.
Ghana’s health service has recorded 131,246 cases and 1,228 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.