GHS Urges Public To Disregard Negative Narratives About COVID-19 Vaccines

Health Stakeholders Meeting
Health Stakeholders Meeting

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has urged the public to disregard negative narratives about the efficacy and importance of COVID-19 vaccines by people deliberately throwing dust into the public’s eye.

Dr Michael Rockson Adjei, the Ashanti Regional Deputy Director of Health Service in Charge of Public Health, said taking the vaccines was the way to go as a people to overcome the virus.

He said the development and deployment of the vaccines were to build the immune system of people to fight against the virus and not to cause any harm as being speculated on social media and other platforms.

He was speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on draft agenda for Vaccine Related Events (VRE) response plan for Ghana, in Kumasi.

VREs are events related to vaccines that can negatively affect a vaccination programme and the meeting was to solicit inputs from the stakeholders into the VRE plan.

The plan also offers guidance in training and mobilisation activities for effective vaccine response activities in Ghana

The stakeholders included representatives drawn from the Regional Disease Control Unit, Public Health Nurses, Community Health Nurses, Health Promotion Unit, Red Cross Society, Information Service Department, and National Commission for Civic Education.

Others are Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Education Service, Coalition of NGOs in Health, the Clergy, and Muslim leaders.

Dr Adjei said vaccines had become important due to the increasing rate of infectious diseases, adding that, “vaccines go through a lot of vigorous stages before it was used on humans.”

He said the plan also sought to provide a well-coordinated national response that defines clear roles and responsibilities of stakeholders at the national, regional, and district levels for effective response to VREs for all types of vaccines in a timely manner.

The Deputy Director noted that even though the vaccines could not guarantee 100 per cent eradication of diseases, but it provided protection and also slowed transmission.

According to him, fear and anxiety were some of the causes of some reactions after taking the jab and counselled the public to embrace the vaccination exercise currently ongoing in the interest of public health.

Mr John Odai-Tettey, Ashanti Regional Head of Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), said the objective of the meeting was to share the draft VRE document for comprehensive review and comments to make the document fit for purpose.

He was hopeful that a document that would be comfortable to use would be put together to improve communication during vaccination programmes.

Mrs Rhoda Appiah, Head of Communications and Public Education Department of the FDA, giving an overview of the document, said the VRE Response Plan was in four phases.

This included Preparation for a VRE, Detecting VRE, Responding for a VRE and sustaining/Post a VRE.

She said despite some success chalked, the process of addressing VRE had been riddled with inadequate capacity of reporting, low response time, and lack of proper documentation.

Mrs Appiah said stakeholders played important roles in the process of effective management of VREs and therefore was hopeful that the engagement would go a long way to refine and enhance the national document.

The Ghana Health Service through the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) in collaboration with the FDA with support of Centre for Disease Control (CDC) organized the event.

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