The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination began yesterday, following the taking of the jabs by the first and second families on Monday.
Yesterday, former President John Dramani Mahama, the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice, among other prominent members of the country, also took their jabs.
However, civil society organisation Centre for Policy Development believes to get the majority of the masses to accept the vaccine, community leaders, including assembly members, unit committee members, must be made to be a part of local level sensitisation, in collaboration with staff of the Information Service Department and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).
In a statement copied to the Daily Statesman, CPD-Ghana noted that there must be a well-planned sensitisation exercise, led by health experts, traditional and religious leaders at the micro level to get the grassroots to accept the virus.
“The media should focus the attention of the discussion by engaging experts rather than politicians to speak on the matter. Religious bodies should continue and enhance the sensitisation of their members,” the statement signed its Executive Director, Yahuza Ishmael, said.
It added that “identifiable groups, including community NGOs, women groups, youth groups, students’ associations among others must be engaged in the sensitisation of their members.”
Some Ghanaians have expressed scepticism about the vaccine. While some say they have not decided yet as to whether to take or not, others say they would not take it at all. A recent report indicated that health practitioners were nearly attacked by a community in Accra during a health talk exercise in a school. According to the report, residents in the area felt the health practitioners were trying to indoctrinate their children into accepting the Covid-19 vaccine.
Some people on social media have also alleged that Covid-19 vaccines have been developed to reduce the country’s population. Others claim the vaccine causes genetic mutation and affect one’s sperms, while others say it is the mark of ‘666’. Some say the vaccine will alter their DNA, while others believe it will embed a tracking device in their body.
President Akufo-Addo has said that, contrary to what is being put out, the vaccine will help protect Ghanaians against the impact of COVID-19. “It is also a major catalyst to restoring livelihoods and the national economy to the robust level it belongs,” the President has said, and encouraged everyone to avail him or herself of the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Meanwhile, CPD-Ghana has reiterated the caution by health experts concerning the safety protocols, announced by the WHO and the Ghana Health Service (GHS). According to CPD, the protocols still remain the surest means to reduce the spread.
“We cannot let our guard down until we are out of the woods. Experts say the more people get infected, the more the chances for a mutation of the virus to occur which means that the virus has a lesser chance to mutate when there is limitation in its spread.
“Ghanaians must continue to wear the nose masks when going out of the house, ensure social distancing in public places such as markets, workplaces, schools etc by staying at least six-feet apart, or two arm lengths from other people. Avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Wash hands regularly with soap under running water and or use the hand sanitizer frequently. Cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces must be done regularly. We must exercise, eat well, especially Ghana made foods, take enough rest and monitor health regularly. Most importantly, unless it is extremely important to go out, we urge Ghanaians to stay home,” it said.