There is great enthusiasm for vaccine trials by the people of the Kassena-Nankana Municipality in the Upper East Region, checks by the Ghanaian Times has revealed.
Despite vaccine trials hesitancy by the larger population, people from this municipality voluntarily participate in clinical trials with little or no hesitancy.
Trials of the first Malaria vaccine RTSS, Sputnik Light, a COVID-19 vaccine among others received major support from these residents during their introduction.
This reporter during a visit to the Navrongo Health Research Centre (NHRC) observed that several residents trooped to the Centre for the COVID-19 vaccine trial which was underway with some even asking when another trial would be conducted.
Explaining to the Ghanaian Times the reason for the high spirit of volunteerism, Dr Nana Akosua Ansah, Head of Clinical Science Department of NHRC, said the centre had a culture of research and that had built the confidence of the residence.
“The centre has been in existence for over 20 years so the people know our capabilities of conducting health researches which is geared towards improving on the health delivery of the country,” she stated.
According to her although the centre had not developed any vaccine yet, the people in her catchment area were already used to vaccine trials because almost every trial done in Ghana had had a certain phase done in the center.
And that she said had over the years made it easier for the Centre to conduct trials.
Dr Ansah said people had to be turned away and some also stayed till midnight just to participate in a trial or take a vaccine jab saying “the people of Navrongo give good responses to vaccine trials”
Speaking on the ongoing trial of Sputnik Light vaccines, a single shot dose, Dr Ansah said the study for the vaccine started in June 2021 and would end in December.
She said 495 participants were recruited to participate in the trial and that if the project ran successfully; the world would have another one shot vaccine that would help mitigate the effect of COVID-19.
She said another trial that had also been rolled out was the Sanofi vaccine trial which was to recruit about 1,800 participants in stage one across three Ghanaian sites saying 500 participants had so far been recruited in Navrongo.
Dr Ansah said Ghana’s ability to participate in these trials would help answer questions on vaccine’s safety and efficacy.
She advised persons, who participate in research trials to report to the nearest health facility, call or visit the clinical trials Centre for any adverse events to be recorded and reported to the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
Alima Mohammed, a participant who came for the trial said, he did not walk into the Centre to take part in vaccines trials due to monetary compensation, but due to the understanding of vaccine trials.
He, therefore, allayed fears of people who feared to participate in vaccine trials.
NHRC started as a field station in 1988 and subsequently became a Research Center in 1992, with the vision to become a center of excellence by systematically conducting high quality health and social research to inform policy decisions.
FROM BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY, NAVRONGO