Participants at a forum to mark the International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration in Koforidua have called for intensified education on the COVID-19 vaccination to allay fears of the public on the misconceptions and the theories surrounding the vaccine.
The participants noted that many people were not ready to take the vaccination due to misunderstanding and the several theories including the side effects and adverse reaction on people’s health after taking the vaccination.
The forum was organized by the Department of Gender, under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to sensitise women’s groups on the coronavirus prevention and vaccination as part of activities to mark this year’s edition of the IWD.
The participants noted that public awareness on the coronavirus vaccination was very low as compared to others such as the National Identification Cards registration where there were several advertisement on the radio and television, educating the public on the importance of the program.
The low level of education, according to the participants had entrenched people’s positions on the vaccination and called on the Ghana Health Service and all stakeholders to increase the level of awareness for people to do the vaccination in the collective interest of the entire nation.
Mr Edmund Atweri Duodu, Public Health practitioner, in presenting an overview of the Covid-19 situation in Ghana, indicated that more than 600 persons had succumbed to the disease adding that the coronavirus was not a fiction of anybody’s imagination and that it was real so people should keep to the preventive protocols.
He stated that the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) had so far approved the AstraZeneca vaccines and it had mild side effects such as headaches just as all other vaccines, stressing that not all persons however would experience them and explained that such side effects proved that the body was responding positively to the vaccine.
Mr Duodu explained that the AstraZeneca vaccines were to be administered in two phases where the second jab was to be taken eight weeks after the first jab, adding that the first shot did not guarantee full protection from the virus as protection starts 15 days after the two shots.
He noted that the second wave of the COVID-19 disease was tricky as people were not showing any sign and emphasized the need for all citizens to get vaccinated alongside implementing the various safety protocols to help curb the spread of the virus and debunked rumours that the vaccine changed one’s blood group or caused impotence in men.
Mrs Juliana Abbeyquaye, Acting Eastern Regional Director, Department of Gender, speaking on the theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, said the past year had been difficult for all particularly women as they found themselves at the forefront of the pandemic, while taking on more responsibilities at home.
She said the impact of the pandemic on women was huge as most of them faced high risks of economic insecurity, violence, exploitation, abuse and harassment during the lockdown period and advocated for all to adhere to the safety protocols to prevent another lockdown by government to protect women and girls.
She said this year’s Women’s Day was a reminder to celebrate women for their enormous contribution in fighting the crisis and called on women to stand up for each other and push for their voices to be heard as they had been under-represented in leadership and decision making in sectors of national development even though they make up 70 percent of the workforce.
Mrs Deborah Dadzie, Eastern Regional Director Department of Social Welfare, observed that women were not given the needed recognition, yet their efforts counted very much in fighting the pandemic.
She therefore called on government to make a relief fund policy to support women in this COVID-19 times and tasked the participants to make decision to challenge the status quo to help get more women involved in the decision making process at the various levels of national development.