President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is set to receive his jab of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine on today March 1, 2021 despite the fears raised by some world leaders about its efficacy coupled with their age.
Ghana last week became the first country in the world to receive vaccines acquired through the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative with a delivery of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India.
Ghana’s vaccination campaign will begin March 2 and will be conducted in phases among prioritized groups, beginning with health workers, adults of 60 years and over, people with underlying health conditions, frontline executive, legislature, judiciary, and their related staff, said Kojo Oppong Nkrumah who is the Minister of Information.
Some Ghanaians in the various regions have expressed reservations about the wholesomeness and efficacy of the vaccine. They’re argued during various interviews by some radio stations that they do not know how the vaccine was manufactured and what side effects it will have on their health, adding that they will not offer themselves to be used as guinea pigs for the vaccine. They have therefore vowed never to take the jabs. Their stance has further been solidified by the World Health Organization (WHO) which has indicated it will hand the country some cash compensation for any side effects that the vaccine may cause to those who take the jab.
One key issue that has exacerbated non-acceptance of the vaccine has to with the age limit placed on it. It has become abundantly clear that this particular vaccine reportedly does not favour the aged, as evidenced by the refusal of the German Chancellor to accept it at age 68. Again, there are fears that older people with some underlying conditions may be allergic to the vaccine or may have dire complications if they take the jab.
Calls have been intensified by some stakeholders for President Akufo-Addo and his government to take a second look at the vaccine and opt for a more acceptable brand which wholesomeness and efficacy will not be in doubt.
Meanwhile, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor has said she will not take the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine because at 66 she is older than the upper age limit for it.
The German authorities have not approved the vaccine for people over 65.
Thomas Mertens, head of STIKO, Germany’s standing commission on vaccines, said the country had hoarded 1.4 million vaccine doses because of its reluctance to take jab. He also said that Germany’s refusal to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 65 was “partially to blame”.
Last month President Macron, the French leader, compounded the reputational damage to AstraZeneca’s vaccine by saying it seemed “quasi-ineffective” for older people.