The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says it has not recorded any major adverse effect from the COVID-19 vaccines since it begun administering the vaccines in March, last year.
Director-General of GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said the vaccines have rather proven to provide high level of protection, reduced severe sickness and hospitalisation among the population.
He was speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times on the back of a petition by a group, known as “Concerned Ghanaian Doctors” (CGD), which called on the President to halt the nationwide vaccine rollout.
According to the group, the risks associated with the COVID-19 vaccines far outweighed the potential benefit with alleged increase in death tolls following the introduction of the vaccines.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye, who ‘shot down’ the claims in a reaction, insisted that the GHS had in place a system for checking for the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines and investigated every reported effect to the latter.
“We are yet to pick up any case, which points to the fact that the vaccine is a cause of death or any adverse condition. For instance, you take the vaccine and have a heart problem and die in a day or two, we are interested in investigating to convince ourselves that the vaccine is not the cause.
We go all the way even to autopsy and there have been several instances where we have conducted these investigations although it’s not our practice to disclose such confidential information to the public but so far, we have not recorded any major adverse effect of the vaccines,” he stated.
The Director-General said irrespective of allegations by the “anti-vaxxers”, the GHS’ data indicates that persons reporting at out-patient departments (OPDs) with COVID-19, those severely sick, admitted and died from COVID-19, were mostly unvaccinated.
“This disease is not just about deaths, it’s about the to disruption lives so, it should not even be measured only by the number of people who are dying – other situations have claimed more lives than COVID-19 but how many of these have shrunk countries economy, affected trade and social life and that’s why it should be taken more serious and not trivialised,” he noted.
DrKuma-Aboagye entreated members of the public to avail themselves for vaccination and discard the notion that COVID-19 variants like Omicron was mild and its associated risk was low.
“People have the perception that there is low risk of contracting the virus, others also think symptoms are mild so it’s needless to vaccinate but everyone’s situation is different.
A very mild COVID can give you major disease, it can affect your pancreas, making you diabetic or severely damage your lungs so do not assume that it is mild because it may leave you with a very serious disease subsequently which is why everybody must protect themselves by getting vaccinated and observing the protocols even after vaccination,” he advised.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Medical Association in a statement issued on Wednesday, assured Ghanaians of the potency and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, distancing itself from the said petition by the CGD.
It described contents of the petition as “misleading, unfortunate and not based on available local and international scientific data.”
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH