Health workers in various polyclinics in the Northern Region say there has been an increase in acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines in their respective facilities.
They attributed this to the growing sensitization and education aimed at eradicating the myths and misconceptions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was disclosed at a COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) town hall meeting held in Tamale for vaccine health personnel of polyclinics.
The meeting was organized by BudgIT Ghana, a leading civil society organization (CSO) that advocates for transparent and accountable utilization of COVID-19 funds, in partnership with CODE, Idilton, and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
The town hall meeting, which was held under the theme “save one, save all,” also sought to solicit the views of experts on how to address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation in communities, ethical considerations on vaccine distribution, and the long-term potential side effects of COVID-19 vaccines.
Participants at the meeting highlighted that the involvement of key community stakeholders during COVID-19 vaccination gives confidence to the people of the community, which in turn decreases their hesitance to vaccinate.
Some participants asserted that many communities agree to receive COVID-19 jabs when proper community entry protocols are observed with the key community leaders.
“There has been a significant reduction in vaccine hesitancy because people have freed their minds from the perception that the vaccines are aimed at controlling birth rates and reducing the population of Africa,” one participant said.
A lead facilitator, Mr. Kamal-deen Hadrat Yussif, sought to find out the plausibility of advocating for the inclusion of COVID-19 vaccination in the normal routine vaccination exercises.
Some health workers said that although it would be a laudable idea, a number of research studies must be conducted to come up with safe vaccines that can be included in the array of vaccines for children in particular.
Some participants who also spoke said that it is too short a time to determine the long-term side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, even though it is not expected because the vaccines are safe and certified by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA).
“I think it would have been a good idea to include COVID-19 vaccines in our normal routine vaccines, but I believe some research should be done to that effect to come up with safer vaccines, especially for children. As it is now, many are still looking for the long-term effects of these current vaccines, and we do not envisage any because the vaccines are safe and certified by the right authorities,” one participant said.