Massive sensitisation on COVID-19 vaccines needed ahead of its arrival— Okoe Boye
Former Deputy Minister, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye has reiterated the need for state agencies to begin a targeted public sensitisation for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines when it reaches the country.
He said government’s efforts to acquire the vaccines to curb the spread of the virus will come to naught if the right public sensitisation is not provided for the population especially when the Health and Finance Ministry put in place adequate measures to ensure Ghana receives its fair share of the consignment.
Dr Okoe Boye is however worried about the spate some Ghanaians have negative perception about the vaccination, and insisted that only proper education would ensure the needed change of mind.
“Government has not been idle for the vaccine but I think the education must start aggressively so that we conscientise the population on the arrival of the vaccine. On my own level, I sent my assistants to the field to try and talk to people.”
“I just developed a simple questionnaire asking about what they know about COVID-19 and whether they are willing to take the vaccines. I am still processing the data but you will be amazed almost everyone including the educated say they won’t take the vaccine. The education must not be wholesale but surgical so we know who to target and the reasons to address,” he said.
Dr Okoe Boye also mentioned that it is imperative for a more scientific idea of public perception about the vaccines in order to have a tailor-made form of education.
Providing more details on the acquisition of the vaccines, he said the government is exploring several options to boost its chances of more stock, adding that health officials would take advantage of the country’s already existing Expanded Program against Immunisation (EPI) to improve the cold chain system for the storage of the doses.
Ghana is first expecting a batch of the COVAX vaccines to meet its target vaccinating 20 million out of the 30 million population with the government outlining four categories of persons for the receipt of the vaccine to be administered.
The segments are frontline workers, people with some form of health risk and co-morbidities, workers who offer essential services and the arms of government and the remaining population.
President Akufo-Addo has already indicated that the government was working to procure 17 million vaccines.
“Our aim is to vaccinate the entire population with an initial target of 20 million people. Through bilateral and multilateral means, we are hopeful of by the end of June, a total of 17,600,000 vaccine doses will have been procured for the Ghanaian people,” he said in an address to the nation.