Accra,- The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has urged the public to avail themselves of the Covid-19 vaccines, following the emergence of the Omicron variant in Ghana and some countries.
The new variant designated a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is said to have several mutations that can potentially impact its behaviour.
The PSGH commended Government’s effort at securing various safe, effective and FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines to address the on-going pandemic and assured the public that COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective in reducing severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
“While no vaccine is 100% protective, the above benefits are compelling for pharmacists to advocate for its use,” it said, reiterating that COVID-19 vaccines go through rigorous, multi-stage testing processes, including studies that involve tens of thousands of people, and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and Ghana Health Service (GHS) have strong measures in place to help ensure the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines.
The PSGH reminded the public that taking the vaccine was not just for the benefit of the individual but to protect others as well who may be at higher risk, especially the elderly and people with underlying health conditions because COVID-19 could be life-threatening for them.
It expressed worry that despite the availability of various COVID-19 vaccines in the country, some individuals were hesitant to take the vaccines.
“Widespread acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines, however, is crucial to achieving sufficient immunization coverage to end the pandemic.”
PSGH said concerns about safety, side effects, and effectiveness were widespread among many people and access to social media had also facilitated the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Lack of awareness of the magnitude of the threat posed by COVID-19 and the risk of contracting it, mistrust of vaccines developed in western countries, as well as religious beliefs are some of the reasons people hesitate to take the vaccine.
The PSGH urged the public to take advantage of the unique accessibility of pharmacists in the communities and engage them about any clarifications they might need about the pandemic and the vaccines.
“Pharmacists are ever ready to inform, educate and engage their patients and clients to mollify their fears regarding safety and credibility of COVID-19 vaccines, arising out of many myths, misconceptions, and unfounded conspiracy theories.”
The PSGH called on government and policy makers to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines were not only available but accessible and administered in a convenient and orderly manner.
“Immunizers should communicate in a language that is convenient to the local communities, provide services in a timely manner and respect the beliefs and culture of the people. A boost in appeal of immunization services is a vote for vaccine acceptance.”
The PSGH urged the public to observe all the other recommended safety protocols, including frequent handwashing, use of hand sanitizers when handwashing is not possible, always maintaining social distancing and wearing of face masks.
Source: Ghana News Agency