A COVID‐19 vaccine is administered to provide acquired immunity against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2),the virus responsible for the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19).
On 24th February,2021,Ghana became the first country outside India to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped through the COVAX facility. About 600 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine were received from the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Prior to the arrival of the vaccines, there were a lot of safety concerns raised by the public. The old wives’ tales were that the vaccines when taken can cause genetic mutation and affects one’s sperms and at worst, lead to untimely death. Others also say it’s a mark of the evil 666, whilst some simply misconceive that it’s a way of introducing the virus into an innocent person.
The delusion seem real as it clearly played out today at the St. Theresa Nursery/Kindergarten school in the Canteen Electoral Area of the West Gonja Municipal when pupils in a dramatic fashion fled from the school for fear that they were going to be vaccinated.
The whole drama unfolded when a military aircraft landed at the vicinity of the school with military men and health personnel.
Two of the military men and a nurse alighted from the aircraft and walked towards the direction of the school as if to suggest they were going to have an official engagement with the school. At that time, the nurse was carrying a container which gave the general perception that she was carrying the COVID-19 vaccines. The container looks much like the one the Community Health Nurse’s usually carry during polio and other vaccination exercises.
The public talk from onlookers at that point was that they were going to administer the COVID-19 vaccine on the pupils.
The students suddenly lost their calm on seeing the nurse and the military men enter the school premises. Tried as the teachers did to control the students, the struggle for an escape route increased with most of the pupils scaling the walls of the school to find their way home.
The little kids ran helter-skelter out of the school to join their parents at home. The school within a matter of minutes became empty.
When the team was approached by the Assemblyman for the area of their mission, they disclosed that they were going to their camp, but only sough for refuge at the school premises to wait for their car. They were emphatic that they were not there for any COVID-19 vaccination exercise.
Most of the parents who spoke to this writer where largely unconvinced with the explanation of the military men. They insisted their wards will not take any vaccination. Majority of the parents later returned their children to school out of curiosity but, remained unconvinced as they believed the military men where sneaking into the school to vaccinate their children.
It’s clear the “above-the-line method” adopted by the Ghana Health Service to convince the public to take the COVID-19 jab is not yielding much results as most parents still hold the conviction that the vaccines are not safe.
With the fear in both parents and pupils, it would take a lot of sensitization to get the students to return fully to school tomorrow.