The Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana – a charity organisation of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) – Samuel Zan Akologo has called for equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines by all Ghanaian citizens and persons resident in the country.
According to Mr. Akologo, his outfit is of the firm belief that equitable access to and acceptance of the vaccine will ensure the communal protection of all persons in the country, and it will be a critical factor in kick-starting the economy.
He said this at a media engagement held in Tamale, where journalists were brought up to speed with progress made during the first phase of the Interfaith Actions for Social Behaviour Change on COVID-19 project, which came to an end on March 31, 2021.
The initiative was organised by Caritas-Ghana with support from STAR Ghana Foundation, and sought to implement strategies aimed at curbing spread of the virus by using social and behavioural change communication strategies.
The project was implemented through the ‘Faith in Ghana’ platform, an interfaith network of influential faith-based organisations in Ghana consisting of the Office of the National Chief Imam (ONCI); Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Ghana (AMM); Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC); Christian Council of Ghana (CCG); GCBC; Federation of Muslim Women Association in Ghana (FOMWAG); and the Marshallan Relief and Development Services (MAREDES).
The second phase of the project, dubbed ‘Campaign for Access, Equity and Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines’, which been launched seeks to ensure that all Ghanaians have equitable access to the vaccine – and more importantly, accept to take it as a means of safeguarding themselves from the virus.
Mr. Akologo however expressed fear that government’s inability to roll-out the national vaccine programme prior to the farming season could serve to discourage many persons from participating in the exercise.
“Very soon we will be entering into the farming season in the northern part of the country. If by the end of April or May the national vaccine programme is not rolled out, many people will leave for their farms because time will not be on their side to go and queue for the vaccine,” he explained.
He added that there is need for a sustained sensitisation campaign on the safety and benefits of vaccines, as there are still many widely-held misconceptions regarding them which if not addressed comprehensively could pose a challenge to the smooth nationwide rollout.
He therefore appealed for all Ghanaians to cooperate with the relevant authorities, including the Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health, in accepting the vaccine when it finally rolls out across the country – adding that the nation’s collective progress hinges not on the actions of a few but all who reside within its borders.