Go for COVID-19 jabs for herd immunity

On March 12, 2020, the Ministry of Health announced the country’s first two confirmed cases in Accra, which were identified as people who had returned to the country from Norway and Turkey.

 These imported cases called for the first contact tracing process in Ghana, which helped to detect dozens of cases in a short period.

The result of the contact tracing became the basis to conclude that the pandemic had already started to spread in the country.

Therefore, the government instituted measures to stop internal spread of the infection and its further import into the country.

The measures included shutting all the land and air borders to the country, quarantine, testing of suspected cases, hospitalisation and isolation at centres created in almost every district.

Other measures included partial lockdown of Accra and Kumasi and environs, which had become the epicentres for the pandemic, for three weeks from the end of March 2020.

There were also restrictions on the movement of people under which only those offering essential services like healthcare, journalism, food vending and the security service were allowed to move about.

All public gatherings and places for such gathering, including schools and even churches and mosques, were closed indefinitely and fumigated a number of times.

All this while measures at the personal or individual level, including personal hygiene, hand-washing, social distancing and wearing of nose-masks, use of personal protective equipment were being emphasised by the GHS.

The GHS also carried out COVID-19 public education diffusing conspiracy theories denying the existence of the pandemic and calling for defiance of measures for fighting the disease, as well as making people understand the dynamics of the disease and the need not to stigmatise those who had recovered from it.

As of 31 December 2020, the case count for COVID-19 in Ghana was 54,771 and 335 deaths, which put the country in 89th position on the COVID-19 Worldometer compiled by the Johns Hopkins University.

From September 2020, cases in the country went up due to political rallies that preceded the December 7 elections and the Yuletide following immediately.

All the measures referred to in this write-up were without vaccination until February 24, this year when COVAX shipped 600 000 doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine to Accra, Ghana, from the Serum Institute of India (SII) from Pune, India.

Since then the GHS and the government have vowed to vaccinate at least 20 million people to achieve herd immunity.

However, even though there are vaccines or doses available, the people have refused to go for the jabs for conspiracy theories, including the one that the vaccine weakens sexual performance and that it can also cause impotence.

The GHS has, therefore, outlined a number measures to prevent a possible surge of coronavirus (COVID-19) during the Christmas festivities. (See a story on front page of our yesterday issue).

The GHS says it is trying tovaccinate20million people by the end of the year and that so far, about 5,451,291 people has taken a jab, with vaccination hitting more than 140,000 a day.

The GHS also says it has 12,324,710 vaccines available with 7,422,810 on the way.

This means it can achieve the 20 million herd immunity target, which was a far cry months ago when the vaccines were difficult to procure.

What is needed now is the co-operation of the unvaccinated public.

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