April 13, 2021

Experts answer frequently asked questions on Covid-19 vaccination

Since it was announced that Ghana would receive some doses of the Covid-19 vaccine many people have been concerned about its efficacy or possible side effects.

Even though President Akufo-Addo assured Ghanaians of the vaccines’ safety and ensured he took the first jab alongside his wife, the First lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Vice President Dr Bawumia and Second Lady Samira Bawumia, some Ghanaians are still sceptical.

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In view of that, some medical practitioners allayed the fears of Ghanaians on JoyFM’s Super Morning Show.

The Director, Public Health at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Franklin Aseidu-Bekoe and Principal Regulatory Officer (Drug Evaluation & Registration Department) FDA Mr Nathaniel Nkrumah all answered some of the listeners’ questions and addressed any concerns that they may have about the Covid-19 vaccination.

Dr Aseidu-Bekoe told host Winston Amoah that the government is hoping to deploy the 600,000 Covax vaccines within a week.

“The whole Covid-19 vaccination process is a package. You need to do the registration. It will give some information about the person including name, age and if the person has any underlying condition.”

He explained the registration will help health workers identify who should be vaccinated.

Are there side effects?

When asked if there will be side effects after vaccination, Mr Nkrumah said side effects have been classified into 3 categories; common, rare and very rare.

He explained that some of the common side effects are headaches, dizziness, sometimes a state of slight uneasiness. He said these are normal, adding that the average person should be over it within a short time.

“The body has to take in a foreign material and therefore the immune system is activated. It behaves as though you are having the Covid so that is what you experience.”

“And that is what for now all the 271 million people who have been vaccinated if you look at the data those are the most reported common side effects we have seen so far.”

Does the vaccine totally prevent Covid-19 infection?

Dr Asiedu-Bekoe said: “The available data tells you that a lot of people are prevented from getting the infections and there are others who get the disease and get it in the mild form, so it cut both ways.”

Will safety protocols be no more applicable after vaccination?

Dr Asiedu-Bekoe said because the vaccine is not 100% foolproof, people cannot let their guard down and ignore the safety protocols after they have been vaccinated.

“You can only ignore the protocols if the virus does not exist. We can only get to that stage if we have built enough immunity in the system, but, so far as we haven’t built that then we still need to be adhering to protocols.”

Mr Nkrumah added that the UK data indicates that after the jab it takes two weeks for enough antibodies to develop to fight the virus when vaccinated.

“For the purposes of that phase, it is always useful to put on face masks and adhere to other protocols. Again don’t forget that if you take the jab others haven’t, as we speak now it is only about 600,000 doses so consider the other people.”

“Because for now, the data doesn’t show that it prevents the transmission from one person to the other, what it does is that it protects you.”

What happens if someone who doesn’t know he/she is Covid-19 positive takes it?

Dr Aseidu Bekoe said, “from our point of view we think that the more the better, because, you are getting your natural immunity and the vaccine is giving you a double dose.”

“So we think that there is nothing that will really happen to you. Some people are advocating that we need to test all persons before we do the vaccination but we won’t do that, we are saying that all Ghanaians are eligible for the vaccination.”

Can previously infected persons take the vaccine?

The Director of Public Health at the GHS said that although people who have tested positive for the virus already have natural immunity, it is also safe to get the vaccine.

“For now the evidence is the more the better. There is no evidence that getting the vaccines will have any adverse effect on them. So you are not exempted, though you have been infected we still encourage that you take the vaccine.”

Will there be more vaccines?

Mr Nkumah said Ghana has been receiving applications from other vaccine manufacturers and thus will be informed if they are approved.

“In terms of trust, let me inform you that the AstraZenca [vaccine] is from the UK and they did a tech transfer to the Serum Institute of India, so it is not about somebody just anything into the country. If you really read around medicine you would notice that off late medicine sites are just scattered across the world because of lots of factors.”

“So the product might be done in the UK, for the raw material it will be sent to other countries for the other processes to be done. So it is not because somebody is inferior to anyone.”

Source: Ghana News

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