The Leader of Risk Communication and Community Engagement for Ghana’s Covid-19 Response, Dr Aboagye DaCosta has assured Ghanaians that country will make sure COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
Responding to research by the finder newspaper of scepticisms, misinformation and myths by Ghanaians and their unreadiness to take the covid-19 vaccine doses, Dr Da Costa said the country has capable institutions to make sure Ghana receives safe doses of vaccines.
“When you get such a vaccine, we have rules and laws in this country so we will route it through the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to make sure that the safety and its efficacy is guaranteed”, he highlighted. According to him, the FDA, together with the Ghana Standard Authority and the Ghana Pharmaceutical Council, in the past years have approved a lot of safe vaccines and would have the capacity to do same with COVID-19 vaccines.
Dr Dacosta debunked any myth and misconception. He noted that “There are so many misconceptions about the vaccine where people are saying it causes genetic mutation, your sperms and other things. Let me say that as it stands now, those are myths. They are not true,”
He added that his outfit has set out to intensify education and public sensitisation, in collaboration with its stakeholders and partners.
Using what he called “above-the-line method”, where media partners are used to engaging the public, and “below-the-line method”, which involves community engagements, Dr DaCosta was optimistic that Ghanaians would eventually embrace the COVID-19 vaccine.
The finder’s research
According to David Bartels of Finder, a cross-section of Ghanaians say they will not take any COVID-19 vaccine whenever it becomes available in the country.
They cited lack of trials on the continent, conspiracy theories, the speed with which the vaccines were developed, and general lack of confidence in promoters of the vaccines.
Speaking to a cross-section of Ghanaians in Accra, some of the people explained that they would not take the vaccine when they are not sick.
However, some of them stated that they would accept the vaccine when they contract the virus and have severe symptoms which can keep them bedridden.
Even though vaccines have virtually eliminated the risk of many preventable diseases, generally, there has been an increase in refusal and hesitancy over the past two decades.
The Finder randomly spoke to 28 people between the ages of 30 and 65 on the streets of Accra on whether or not they would take a COVID-19 vaccine if made widely available in the country.