Immunologist at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), Dr. Yaw Bediako, has said that while the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Government must be commended for their efforts in securing the COVID-19 vaccine, he believes that the country has lagged behind when it comes to the communication on the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to him, he has observed with worry, the hesitancy of many Ghanaians when it comes to the readiness to go in for the vaccine.
Speaking to Samuel Eshun on e.TV Ghana’s Fact Sheet show, he exemplified: “. I work at the university and I have students and I probed my own students and I am appalled and shocked at the level of hesitancy that I see. These are educated young people who typically should be very enthusiastic about something like this and yet there is this hesitancy among even the educated classes of this country and that is potentially the biggest threat.
I have seen a study that polled that only 40 percent of Ghanaians will readily be happy to accept the vaccine. That is problematic because we already don’t have enough vaccines yet and if only 40 percent of people who are approached will want to take it, then how are we going to meet our herd immunity?”.
Dr. Bediako advised that authorities must work to ensure that the importance of taking the vaccines as well as the safety and efficacy of the vaccines should be well communicated to get citizens to agree to take the vaccines.
“We need the community influences to buy in, we need churches and community leaders to buy in and we need to fight hard against these conspiracy theories because we need people to cooperate and currently we are a little bit behind”.
Ghana, under the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative, has received 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India (Covishield).
The country is targeting a herd immunity of its population as it expects to vaccinate some twenty-million persons from the first week of March.
However, even before the rollout of the vaccines, some Ghanaians on social media have expressed skepticism around the COVID-19 vaccines, questioning the safety and efficacy of these vaccines.