Persons With Disabilities hesitant about COVID-19 vaccination

Koforidua, July 26, GNA – Some Persons with disabilities (PWDs) are refusing to accept the Covid-19 vaccination jabs due to theories and vaccine hesitancy.

GNA made this observation in an interview with some PWDs in the New Juaben North and South municipalities in the Eastern to find out how they were faring with the ongoing vaccination exercise.

Most Person’s with Disability were very firm in their conviction that their predicament stemmed from some injections they took or some medical errors during childhood and were therefore not ready to take the COVID-19 vaccines.

“A few of us have mastered the courage to take the vaccines. Most of our members have also refused to vaccinate due to the myths and conspiracy theories we have heard about the COVID-19 vaccines,” Mr Samuel Agyekum, Eastern Regional Secretary of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) told the GNA in an interview.

He indicated that he had taken all the two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and had no adverse reactions, saying, “some of the reasons my people are using as an excuse is that, complications from the vaccination would aggravate their conditions”

As an Association, we have engaged them at several meetings on the need for them to vaccinate to protect themselves and their families, but most of them are needle phobia based on their past experience and that is the problem.

” I have not taken any injection for the past 20 years because I became paralysed at the age of 11 after an injection. God has taken care of me all these while and He will see me through COVID-19, ” Joyce Yanke a 34 year old physically challenged, said confidently.

The GSPD in the early days of the vaccination called for designated points to aid their members to access vaccination centres, however, their participation in the vaccination has been slow.

The leadership made a case that during the early days of vaccination, when people had to queue to take the vaccines was not favourable to them and they needed a special arrangement suitable for their members, hence, their call at that time for special designated points for its members.

Pursuant to this, the Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service urged all it’s District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) to make arrangements for persons with disabilities to have their shots without any hindrance.

The United Nations as part of equity in the COVID-19 vaccination called for vulnerable and marginalized groups such as Persons with disabilities to be considered as priority groups and urged governments to make special arrangement to prevent discrimination and barrier to the covid-19 vaccination.

Dr John Ekow Otoo, Eastern Regional Deputy Director, Public health, says, “there is no scientific evidence to the fact that the COVID-19 vaccines will have adverse effect on PWDs” and encouraged them to go for the vaccines in the larger interest of the public.

He reiterated that COVID-19 vaccination remains the surest protection against COVID-19 complications and death adding that, if anything at all, the benefits of the vaccines override any adverse reaction.

“The COVID-19 cases are going down and that is enough evidence of the safety and efficacy of all the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), which are being administered here in Ghana.”

The cases recorded at health facilities are low and less complicated, therefore, do not require hospitalization. Therefore, the surest way to completely come out of this pandemic is for all to vaccinate to achieve herd immunity”

Meanwhile, the Eastern Region has administered 1,328,476 of the various approved vaccines as at May 12, this year out of a targeted population of 2,439,756 including children over 15 years.

Person’s fully vaccinated stands at 579,907, about 929,668 have received at least one dose whiles 5,947 have received booster doses.

Source: Ghana News Agency