Vaccination for hearing impaired critical to COVID-19 fight – Dr Mprah

Persons with hearing impairment have been asked to take advantage of the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination exercises to protect themselves against the virus.

Dr Wisdom KwadwoMprah a Senior lecturer at the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, has expressed worry that persons with hearing impairment had been left out in the vaccination exercise due to lack of interpreters.

Speaking with the Ghanaian Times on Tuesday, Dr Mprah  said persons with hearing impairment were the most  susceptible to the virus since health workers could not communicate with them well to understand their conditions, hence the need to avail themselves for the vaccination to help protect them from contracting the disease.

He said persons with hearing impairment persons should be factored in the exercise since they could not express themselves when they show symptoms of COVID-19, adding that “it is a risk factor in the spread of the ailment.”

For him, many countries that had many of their population vaccinated recorded decline in their case count, hence the need for inclusive participation in the vaccination exercise.

DrMprah, who is also a hearing impaired person, explained that vulnerable groups such as persons with hearing impairment were more susceptible to other health complications, and therefore should make every effort to access the COVID-19 vaccination.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in wide-scale social distancing and face covering in the country, advice from health expert through the government has been to limit contact with others in order to shield from the disease,” he noted.

Those safety measures, he said, had its implication on the hearing impairment community since they communicated through gestures and lip-reading.

“So persons like myself need to vaccinate thoroughly to arm themselves against the pandemic so that they can go about their normal duties,” DrMprah stated.

He added that he nearly lost the wife during the early days of the pandemic when health officials mistook his wife’s ailment to be COVID-19.

Dr Mpah regretted that his wife was left unattended due to her inability to communicate effectively with the nurses, adding that “it had to take a colleague of mine, an interpreter to come to salvage the situation.”

Giving further insights on how the vaccines work, Dr Isaac Bediako, a Virologist at Anton Hospital said, the vaccines primed the body against pathogen’s which caused the virus to create the anti-bodies to fight the virus once it entered the body.

“With every vaccine, people may react to it differently and that reaction in the body is a sign that the immune system is responding,” he noted.

DrBediako explained that the call for people to still follow the preventive protocols such as wearing of the facemasks, handwashing and social distancing was because many people were yet to be vaccinated, hence the tendency of getting infected was high.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said, 825,706 persons had so far been fully vaccinated out of the 20,000,859 people targeted, making up a percentage of 4.1.


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