Journalists urged to dispel misinformation on COVID-19 Vaccines

Astrazeneca Covid Doses
Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine

Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has called on journalists in the Region to step up the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and check its spread.

“Your role is critical in bringing down the pandemic. I urge you to continue supporting the Service to promote positive behaviour that will stop the spread of the COVID- 19. Use your medium to encourage vaccine uptake and dispel rumours and misinformation,” he said.

Dr Dzotsi made the call at a media engagement in Bolgatanga as part of activities to sensitise, mobilise and create awareness on the National COVID-19 Vaccination Days campaign, which commenced on February 2, 2022, and ended on February 5, 2022.

He noted that the media was a critical stakeholder in the fight against the pandemic, and journalists had great influence in society, and could advocate and create awareness on the need for members of the public to observe all the safety protocols.

The Director said the pandemic was not over, indicating that the cumulative total cases in the Region was 1,730 including 61 deaths, “active cases are now 11, with one admission, and 10 under home management.”

He said out of a total of 48 samples taken for COVID-19 test, the laboratory feedback received, indicated that 17 persons, representing 35 per cent tested positive for the virus as of February 1, 2022.

He said all 17 newly recorded cases were from three districts, namely, Builsa North with six cases and one death, Kassena Nankana West, seven, and Talensi four cases.

“With this update of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region, I call on our dear friends in the media to step up the fight against this pandemic. Your role is critical in bringing down the pandemic,” Dr Dzotsi emphasized.

He said a total of 301,660, representing 36.3 per cent of the target population in the region had received at least a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 141,562, representing 17.0 per cent had been fully vaccinated out of the regional target of 830,693 persons.

Dr Dzotsi said about 432,160, representing 52.0 per cent of eligible persons were yet to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity in the region, “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free.

“Currently, the COVID-19 vaccines will be given to all persons aged 18years and above, with the exception of Pfizer, which can be given to persons 15years and above. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be administered to pregnant women irrespective of their gestational period,” he said.

Dr Josephat Nyuzaghl, the Deputy Regional Director in charge of Public Health, observed that some members of the public were hesitant to receive jabs of the vaccines, and called on journalists to intensify education on the virus and the need for the citizenry to get vaccinated to achieve the region’s immunization target.

“Even though we have vaccines available, those who were reached earlier with the first dose, it is becoming difficult getting them for the second dose. So, health workers are retrieving contact numbers from our database and calling individuals to come for the vaccine,” he said.

Dr Nyuzaghl noted that the process was stressful, but hopeful that the National vaccination Days campaign with the support of journalists, would assist the Regional Health Directorate to accurately disseminate information on the vaccination exercise and get all involved.

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