Low PWDs participation in COVIOD-19 vaccination blamed on myths

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Disability

Mr Samuel Agyekum, Eastern Regional Coordinator of the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled (GSPD) says the participation of Persons With Disability (PWDs) in the ongoing national COVID-19 vaccination is low, blaming it on myths.

“The participation of PWDs in the vaccination exercise is not the best,” he told the Ghana News Agency during an interview on the participation of PWDs in the inoculation exercise.

During the early days of the vaccination, Mr Agyekum had pressed for special arrangements for PWDs, due to their vulnerability, to enable them to have easy access to vaccination points.
“Unfortunately, persons with disabilities are not taking advantage of the special arrangements,” he said.

This is because of the myth that PWDs who take the jab would become paralysed or fear it would aggravate their conditions and also affect their children during birth.

Mr Agyekum, therefore, urged the people to ignore the myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccination and go for the jab in their interest.

“The myths and misconceptions are not true, the vaccine is safe for PWDs too just like for all persons,” he said. Adding that he had taken the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying, “I feel that all the myths we heard culminating in our fear are not real.”

Some PWDs who spoke with GNA acknowledged hesitating to be vaccinated due to the claim that, it could escalate their predicament, while some cited past inoculation experience that got them paralysed.

Madam Yaa Rose, 46, shared her childhood experience and said she became physically paralysed at age four, after taking an injection for malaria. “Since my adulthood, I have vowed not to take any injection.”
However, Mr Agyekum, who also said he became crippled at the age of three after also taking an injection, encouraged physically challenged persons to get over the fear and take the COVID vaccine for their protection.

He described his case as not being different from many of his association members whose situation could also be traced to an injection, adding, “But the circumstances are not the same.”

He appealed to all PWDs to go for the jab to ensure their protection, warning that if not they could be at higher risk due to their situation, which required moving with aids.

After taking the jab, he said he only felt feverish on the first day and took paracetamol, saying: “Even though people might react differently to the Vaccination, I think it’s safe and the stories we hear about the aftermath of the Vaccination is not the whole truth.”

Public hesitance to take the COVID-19 vaccine and misinformation is one of the challenges facing the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in carrying out the excise to vaccinate about 20 million Ghanaians by the close of 2021.

Health experts indicate that COVID vaccination remains the best form of protection against COVID-19 complications and death, and therefore encourages all to go for their jabs for protection.
Ghana COVID-19 vaccination exercise is ongoing and open to persons above 18 years but pregnant women are exempted from taking the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson, and Johnson vaccines for the two or one-shot dose respectively.

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