The lies about this COVID-19 vaccine are just too much.
Typically, conspiracy theories start off benefiting a clear side. In the case, I dare say most of us peddling lies about this COVID vaccine are merely mal-articulating their innate fears and concerns as well-thought out concepts in an effort to keep up appearances as not quaking in their boots. Their so-called “evidence” is forced, desperate and made to fit some story they need you to believe in order for them to fully believe.
But facts will remain facts whether we accept them or not. Luckily, accurate data can nowadays almost instantly be confirmed through one google search and a quick read on a trusted website, like that of the WHO.
Still, these lies exist because even after you systematically prove them wrong, you are seen as being part of the conspiracy, leaving you a slim chance of making your case successfully. Even this article will have some pushback and be seen as propaganda towards a certain agenda. I know because when I asked a few people I know to go get the vaccine, they asked if they’ll get the “real” vaccine from America, the fruit juice that was pumped into Nana Akufo-Addo’s arm or the synthetic version they sent to Ghana. Kim said that. Stanley and Wilfred also said similar.
How do I even respond to something like that?!
Social media especially has been a very efficient channel for those spreading lies about these COVID-19 vaccines that Ghana has been very lucky to have. Many more people around you have or have had COVID-19 but you just don’t know it. They just won’t tell you. Everyone suddenly has malaria now smh.
Last week, I was a speaker in the ever-popular Ghanaian Lounge Clubhouse Room with moderators like Bev Danquah, Moe Diggs, Kumi, Kwadwo Benko and a couple others. I believe that was the first time I had witness the concerns and worries about this COVID-19 vaccine being discussed on social media in an unbiased manner.
How do we stop spreading these lies?
The key to stopping the spread of misinformation is through education and awareness. Read this whole article and educate yourself. Afterwards, be aware of the lies out there and do not be quick to take in any data from just anywhere as true. Verify things for yourself. Your life might actually depend on it.
I will admit that there’s no sure way to identify and curb all the misleading information out there. The hardest part is that those perpetuating these lies are mostly friends and family who have been already mislead and scared to believe a couple “if’s”.
“What if I grow a tail when I get this new vaccine?”
Well what if you die if you don’t take this COVID vaccine? Because yeah, you might just die just like millions of other people have. It is the best chance you have to protect you and your loved ones from a pandemic that has killed so many people like you across the world and continue to spread very quickly in Ghana.
Read the full article and educate yourself on what COVAX is, how the Oxford-AstraZeneca works, and even more reasons to be more afraid of not taking the vaccine than you should be about taking it.
Ghana is lucky to be the first.
Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive a shipment of coronavirus vaccines under the COVAX program. About 600,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune (the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world), were sent to Accra in Ghana on February 23.
The AstraZeneca vaccine was given Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by the WHO this month. AstraZeneca and SII will together work with the COVAX facility to begin supplying the vaccine globally.
Under the COVAX program, over 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be delivered by the end of 2021.
What is COVAX?
The COVAX program is led by the vaccine alliance GAVI, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in partnership with UNICEF, vaccine manufacturers and the World Bank, among others. The aim is to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally in what is being called the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.
The program wants to vaccinate roughly 20 per cent of the population in the 92 Advance Market Commitment (AMC) countries, which include middle and lower-income nations that cannot afford to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. This means countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of less than US $4000 and some other countries which are eligible under the World Bank International Development Association (IDA).
As vaccines receive approval, they will be bought by the COVAX facility, which will then try to provide the doses for an average of 20% of each of the eligible country’s population free of cost. Out of its target of 2 billion vaccine doses, 1.3 billion doses will be delivered to the AMC countries.
The funding target for this program for 2021 is about US $6.8 billion, of which it has raised about US $4 billion. The funding is partly coming from high and middle-income countries that will also receive a share of the vaccines produced for COVAX. The US has pledged to give US $2 billion to COVAX and make available further funding of $2 billion over the course of the next two years.
Which vaccines are included in COVAX programme?
Oxford-AstraZeneca became the first vaccine manufacturer to sign up under the programme in June 2020, and has guaranteed to supply 300 million doses. In January, COVAX announced that it had signed an agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech to purchase up to 40 million doses of their vaccine. In addition, the program has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Johnson and Johnson for 500 million doses of their single-dose vaccine, which the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared to be safe and effective recently. COVAX also has existing agreements with SII for 200 million doses.
Why you should get the COVID-19 Vaccine
We understand that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated now that COVID-19 vaccines are available in Ghana. While more COVID-19 vaccines are being developed as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorized or approved for use. Safety is a top priority, and there are many reasons to get vaccinated.
Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
Below is a summary of the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination based on what we currently know.
COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19
- The COVID-19 vaccine currently available in Ghana has been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.
- All COVID-19 vaccines that are in development are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19.
- Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
- Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Experts continue to conduct more studies about the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on severity of illness from COVID-19, as well as its ability to keep people from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection
- COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
- Clinical trials of all vaccines must first show they are safe and effective before any vaccine can be authorized or approved for use, including COVID-19 vaccines. The known and potential benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine must outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine for use under what is known as an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
- Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. However, experts don’t know for sure how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness.
- Both natural immunity and immunity produced by a vaccine are important parts of COVID-19 disease that experts are trying to learn more about.
COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic
- Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
- The combination of getting vaccinated and following WHO’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases (2021), Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine, accessed 5th March 2021, <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine-benefits.html>.
The Indian Express Explain Desk (2021), Explained: What is COVAX, the scheme to distribute Covid-19 vaccines around the world?, accessed 5th March 2021, <https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-covax-scheme-to-distribute-covid-19-vaccines-around-the-world-7204738/>.
Author: Maxwell Ampong
Maxwell Ampong is an Agro-Commodities Trader and the CEO of Maxwell Investments Group. He is also the Official Business Advisor to Ghana’s General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of TUC Ghana, the largest agricultural trade union in Ghana. He writes about trending and relevant economic topics, and general perspective pieces.
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