There was so much chaos in the house as I witnessed from afar. This caught my attention so I probed further. Members of the house were contemplating whether or not to take in the AstraZeneca vaccine, which led to a heated argument.

There were a lot of conspiracy theories driving their misgivings about vaccination. The myth of an old woman to the prophecies of a preacher were some of the numerous reasons against vaccination. The willingness of one lady to be vaccinated was even corrupted by the others as their stand had much support.

I stood in awe as I watched the scene with my voice unheard, even though I was shouting. This is one among countless incidents that take place in the Ghanaian community which needs to be nipped in the bud.

Vaccination is an integral part of human health as it reduces the risk of contracting a disease. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative, Ghana has achieved 95% coverage of the first dose of measles vaccination which is highly commendable.

So far, the country’s response to vaccination has been appreciable over the years with the exemption of Covid-19 vaccines. In a speech given by Dr. Lul Riek, the Africa Centre for Disease Control Regional Director, he stated “Whereas we have a population of 1.3 billion in Africa, only about 23% has so far been vaccinated against Covid-19.”

Also, Ghana has not been able to achieve its set target (20 million COVID-19 vaccination at the end of 2021) due to vaccine hesitancy among the public. This clearly shows the low uptake of vaccines in Africa which is dangerous, as a new strain would be overwhelming in Ghana and Africa at large.

A lot of false information on vaccines have been uploaded on the internet with millions of people reading and assimilating them. This has led to a lot of misconceptions about the vaccines.

Some people have the perception that it is a plot by the advanced countries to wipe out the African continent, hence the need for preachers to ascertain the safety of the vaccines before jabs are taken. Another school of thought believes that they have immunity due to their youthful age, which enables the ability to fight the disease without vaccines. These and many more myths make people hesitant about vaccination.

I was very elated with the World Vision, Ghana community sensitisation programme on COVID-19 vaccination. The Health and Nutrition Technical Manager, World Vision Ghana, Ewurabena Dazdie said it was important for Ghanaians to be informed, and to accept vaccines to save lives, as the virus still exists.

It is undoubtedly true that a fully vaccinated population guarantees good health and safety.

This initiative led to a positive turnout for vaccination in some communities devoid of aftermaths. As of September 11, 2022, 26 per cent of the Ghanaian population is fully vaccinated which is not encouraging.

From my keen observation, awareness and sensitization programmes are good initiatives to curtail vaccine hesitancy. Regular awareness on the importance of Covid-19 vaccines should be promoted by the government through the media and face-to-face interactions with the people, especially those in remote areas in Ghana. I believe open forums help in effective communication and interaction.

The Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service can have open forums to address issues on COVID-19 vaccines, to get citizens informed, thereby stamping out misconceptions. The youth will be actively involved in educational programmes pertaining to vaccination, in order to carry the information down from generation to generation.

We all have a role to play in enforcing vaccination awareness by government.

Let’s take action and make the issue of vaccine hesitancy a thing of the past.

By: Rhoda Owusu Ntim, Mphil Microbiology

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.