COVID-19: Should Ghana suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine?

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A Section of Ghanaians have been engaged in heated arguments on social media lately about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine currently being used in the country as a result of the bad reportage the AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX facility in India, is getting largely from the European press.

The bad press has gotten skeptics now believing that the vaccine is not safe for use and for that matter they might not be too willing to take the Jab when it becomes available to them.

This situation therefore has the potential to erase the gains government has succeeded in making to convince a lot of Ghanaians to take the jab even though it was recently reported by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) that over 500,000 Ghanaians had already taken their first shots.

The Extended Programme on Immunisation (EPI) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) says it has so far received about 1,000 reports of adverse effects from persons who have already received their shots of COVID-19 vaccine.

We have a vaccine manufacturing strategy for Ghana – FDA.

It noted that the complainants are among those vaccinated within 12 days of the first phase of the vaccination exercise currently underway.

Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, the Programme Manager of the EPI, told the Ghana News Agency(GNA) that some complaints received by the EPI and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) were fever, sweating, headache, weakness, chills and body aches, which were all expected according to their findings.

He further mentioned that the reports were not different from reactions and adverse reports from other countries and what was stated by the manufacturer in the vaccine package information and for that matter Ghanaians are not to worry even though the said AstraZeneca vaccine has been temporarily halted in many European countries today due to blood clotting issues.

The news has gotten lots of Ghanaians wondering why the Ghana Health Service (GHS) hasn’t come out to make a definitive statement about Ghana’s stand on the use of the vaccine to alley the fears of those who are worried about the bad press the AstraZeneca vaccine is receiving.

Meanwhile, reports for the foreign press has it that 23 people have died after taking the vaccine in Norway, which has compelled that country to suspend it’s use.

AstraZeneca vaccines have been suspended for fears of blood clotting which has unfortunately claimed some lives. Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, Italy, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have all suspended the vaccination exercise pending through investigations.

Even though the vaccine manufacturers and World Health Organization (WHO), have denied any direct links between the product and the blood clotting issues, but the said countries also insist that their decision to halt the use of the vaccine is a precautionary one.

But despite the major speculations and suspension of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine in several countries, the UK’s medicines regulator assured that the vaccine is “safe and there is no evidence to suggest that the jabs are the cause behind blood clots as reported in some European countries.”

Ghana received some 600,000 gifted doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from India to start a nation-wide vaccination exercise two weeks ago. The exercise is currently underway.

So the question on the minds of a section of Ghanaians is: Should Ghana also suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccines until a full report is released to clear it from ongoing investigations into causing blood clotting issues?

Apart from the expected side effects, have you experienced any blood clotting issues after taking the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Let’s share your thoughts.

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Citizen Atare is a Ghanaian who hails from the Upper East Region. He is an ICT professional working with CERSGIS, a Remote Sensing & GIS Centre, located at the University of Ghana, Legon. Citizen Atare is an amateur freelance writer and blogger for over 20 years, who likes to research into everyday lifestyle issues and situations, politics, and cultural practices to write about to educate and also entertain his readers. He is a highly creative and motivated, highly inquisitive, open minded and to an extent risk-taking with a high visual acumen. He is a dreamer who isn’t afraid to break creative barriers. He is also a passionate aviation, tech and motoring enthusiast with a lot of knowledge to share and a private researcher. He has no formal education or certificate in journalism, but the hunger to know more and do more, backed by an impressive work portfolio is what drives him to write the things he knows best for his numerous online fans. Citizen Atare is married to Margaret and they both live in Accra with their lovely daughter Zoey. His hobbies include reading, listening to very good music; especially jazz, writing, watching action, sci-fi and adventure movies, travel and site seeing and swiming. He likes eating fufu and palm nut soup, but prefers boiled rice and kontomire stew with agushie more.

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