Former President John Dramani Mahama has added his voice to calls on Ghanaians to take the Covid-19 vaccine, saying it is safe and necessary for the fight against the novel coronavirus.
The 2020 presidential candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) gave the advice yesterday after taking his COVID-19 jab.
“I agreed to take the vaccine publicly, to encourage and assure all Ghanaians that the vaccines are safe,” Mr Mahama said.
In a post on his social media handles, the former President said, “Lordina and I this morning took our COVID-19 vaccine at the Police Hospital in Accra… As a former Ambassador for the GAVI Alliance, I can confidently say that vaccines are useful in preserving our health. Ghanaians must therefore disregard all the rumours about the vaccine.”
On the myths about the vaccine, put out by some people, Mr Mahama noted that the only way the country could win the fight against the virus is to vaccinate as many people as possible.
“I believe that all Ghanaians should avail themselves for the vaccines and indeed in Africa, we should be less hesitant about taking vaccines because all of us took vaccines when we were growing up, and it is due to these vaccines that today our children do not get all kinds of diseases like polio and smallpox among others. So vaccines are useful in preserving our health and so Ghanaians should disregard all these rumours,” he said.
Otumfuo and Kufuor
The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccinations in Ghana commenced yesterday, a day after the first two families had been vaccinated.
Top government officials, other distinguished national leaders and some frontline service providers across the country were vaccinated yesterday.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor also publicly took the vaccine at his home in Peduase.
In the Ashanti Region, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and his wife, Lady Julia Osei Tutu, also publicly took their jabs.
Accompanied by Otumfuo were some paramount chiefs from the Asante Kingdom, and the administrative staff of the Manhyia Palace who were all vaccinated.
The queen-mother for the Mampong Traditional Area, Nana Agyakoma Difie II, after taking her jab, said the vaccination process was smooth.
She urged the public to accept the vaccines, and pledged to use her influence to sensitize communities within her area.
About 150,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines have been dispatched to some 16 districts in the Ashanti Region.
Some other top government officials also took their jabs yesterday to assure the public of the safety of the vaccine. Health Minister-designate Kwaku Agyeman-Manu took his at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, after which he encouraged Ghanaians to ignore the myths surrounding the vaccine and get vaccinated.
Also among the people who took the jabs are security personnel detailed to the Jubilee House, some senior clergy men, including Apostle Professor Kwadwo Nimfour Opoku Onyinah, former Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, as well as some media personnel.
Mr Mahama however admonished Ghanaians to continue to adhere to the preventive protocols.
“Let’s continue to stay safe, mask up, and wash our hands regularly to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
For his part, President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr Frank Ankobea, cautioned that the vaccine is not a replacement for the observation of the COVID-19 protocols.
He said much as the vaccines are safe, they don’t offer complete protection against the spread of the virus, reiterating the call on Ghanaians to continue with the observance of the protocols.
In a related development, COVID-19 active cases in Ghana’s Parliament have reduced from 168 to 12 as at yesterday. The latest figure comes as Parliament readies to roll out plans to vaccinate all Members of Parliament and other parliamentary staff. The 12 positive cases include some lawmakers and staff who are undergoing isolation and treatment.
Speaker Alban Bagbin shut down Parliament for three weeks, from Wednesday, February 10 to Tuesday, March 2 2021, due to the surge of Covid-19 cases in the house.
As at the time of shutting down the House, 17 MPs had tested positive while the number of infections among staff of the House had increased from 71 to 151.
In his opening remarks after the House resumed from the three-week break yesterday, Mr Bagbin urged the lawmakers to religiously abide by the safety protocols to ensure smooth sailing of the business of the House.