As Ghana expects to take delivery of up to 968,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by end of March 2021, as part of an initial batch from COVAX, there is some level of skepticism among a section of the public as they asked “how safe is the vaccine?”
“Just recently we heard in the news about how South Africa doctors are raising concerns about the vaccine, I want to plead with the health authorities to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective before they bring it.”- Kojo
When the Republic Press sought to gather views on the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine among the public, most of them have objected to the idea of a vaccine being administered on them, raising safety concerns.
Apostle Emmanuel Owusu of the Judah Pentecostal Church, Kasoa had this to say “I have heard about the covid-19 vaccine arriving in the country soon, I will not allow anyone to inject me with any vaccine because I don’t believe the virus exists in this country, I have not seen anyone with the disease before, all I hear is people are being infected and sent to isolation centers. I don’t know the consequences of the vaccine, what if after the injection I am not able to walk again; they should try it on the ministers, doctors and the parliamentarians first.”
A trader who only gave her name as Gladys said “Even those in the foreign countries, they are not accepting the vaccine. Me that I sit here, I don’t know if this vaccine is safe or not because I saw a video on Facebook saying neem tree is good to treat this virus from someone in Europe so for me the leaders should take it first.”
“If someone wants to inject me, I won’t allow because this virus, there is no cure, it is grace that is keeping us.” – Sarfoa
“Why should they vaccinate us, what will happen if they inject us with the vaccine, I am not sure if I take it I won’t get covid again, I won’t take part in the vaccination because I am afraid, maybe it can affect me later in life.” – Portia Anane
“The vaccination that they want to bring, we all want coronavirus to go but there must be more public education. Every vaccine and its side effect, sometimes headaches, body itches and others so if the public education is not more, how can we take part in the vaccination, I won’t take part unless I get sound education. I even head South Africa has held on to theirs, why the NCCE can’t start public education now; they must go to public places and educate the public on the vaccination.” – Lydia
“Our friends from Europe have called to inform us that this virus is an attempt by the whites to destroy us, they shouldn’t even bother to bring it, we have heard it all on the internet, I have seen what is going on, and they can treat themselves with a different one and send us a different one. The vaccines their sending to African countries are different from what they are using, I won’t accept it.” – Adu Eric
“We should do our own research here and get a medicine and treat ourselves, already the whites don’t like us, so all this while you don’t know they don’t like us, because of money our leaders keep following them, have you heard what is happening in South Africa? As for me, I won’t take part.” – Amoako
“As for me, there is no way I will take part in any vaccination, my children too will not take part, and I don’t know anything about this vaccine so I won’t take it.” – Emma
“The vaccine should have been done here to know which vaccine will be good for us, the whites even when you go and stay with them, look at how they treat us blacks, during the Ebola time, they brought some to kill people at Senegal, the leaders should take it first.” – Nii
“Me, I won’t accept to take the vaccine, we have herbalist here in Ghana which could be used to treat this disease, why should we import from outside.” – Charles Okine
“Please the vaccine, have the leaders taken it already? Why should I take the vaccine? The president brought it, he and his families should take it first but none of my children will take part.” – Amos
“My children and I won’t take part. As for us we don’t have the virus. That virus, I won’t get, God knows I don’t have money to buy medicine, is the leaders who travel and brought it. We the poor don’t have the virus and in the name of God, we won’t get.” – Ama
“I have never heard anyone around here contracting covid, we don’t travel. Look during the campaign no one was wearing nose mask but after the elections they said there is virus, why can’t government share nose mask for everyone, some people don’t have 1cedi to buy it. I won’t take part please.” – Robert Tetteh
Ghana, like many of its counterparts on the continent, is contending with the fallout from the rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants. Of particular concern is the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the UK. It is estimated to be up to seventy per cent more infectious and sixty-five per cent more lethal than the ancestral strain.
Scientists at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens have confirmed that B.1.1.7 is now the dominant variant in Ghana based on nationwide genomic surveillance. And that it is responsible for 88% of cases in the capital city.
The ongoing surge in new infections, hospital admissions and deaths has refocused public attention on a situation that the Ghana Medical Association described as “dire” Intensive care units are operating at the limits of their staff and space constraints. And more young people appear to be developing severe forms of the illness.