The Public Health Alliance International Ghana (PHAIG), an independent not-for-profit Health Think Tank that seeks to address the pertinent issues of health in Ghana and throughout the sub-Sahara African region, has launched a COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy & vaccine mandate research findings in Accra.
The research, according to the organisation, showed that an estimated 6 out of 7 Ghanaians believe that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective and 75% of the respondents would subscribe to implementation of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy.
The findings also showed that the most hesitant groups were men, non-health workers, people with low education, and non-believers of vaccine efficacy.
Dr. Prince Samuel Nuamah, Vice President of PHAIG who presented the report, explained that the compelling aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic was the biggest catalyst for formation of PHAIG and the need for more localised research on vaccine hesitancy.
The research findings’ launch was held in Accra under the theme ‘Vaccine hesitancy, the current state of affairs and disposition of Ghanaians toward vaccine mandate’ and brought together stakeholders in the health sector and business community. Notable among them were Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, Senior Public Health Physician Specialist-Ghana Health Service; Mr. Cyril Opon, Ghana Oil Company Limited; and Dr. Horlali Yao Gudjinu from the Ghana Health Service. Also present were Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, CEO-National Health Insurance Authority; and Mr. Ibrahim Isa Kaita, a representative from the Nigerian High Commission. The Chairperson was Rev. Dr. Ebenezer Markwei, General Overseer, Living streams International.
Dr. Prince Samuel Nuamah later shared with those present a number of PHAIG’s upcoming projects; some of which are on childhood burns and their prevention, alcohol use and productivity among others, and called on interested organisations for potential collaborations and strategic partnerships. He also seized the opportunity to appeal for more funding from corporate entities/individuals to boost their research.
The Guest Speaker, Dr. Amponsa-Achiano, reported as positive the incredible milestones attained by Ghana and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa on the drive toward vaccination and vaccine acceptance. He however admitted the need for more concerted efforts to achieve projected expectations regarding vaccine coverage and acceptance.
During his remarks, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, CEO-National Health Insurance Authority, commended the interest shown by all present in engagements at the launch and admitted to the complex nature of a vaccine mandate – but said that discussions on the potential for a vaccine mandate policy was a step in the right direction.
Mr. Ibrahim Isa Keita from the Nigerian High Commission first commended the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service for being pacesetters in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. He advocated that the research and its findings should not be localised within Ghana, but rather be seen as the beginning of a bigger discussion on the need for strategic partnerships between Ghana and other countries on the continent. He pledged his support for such initiative and looked forward to further engagements with PHAIG.
The Chairperson, Rev. Dr. Markwei, commended PHAIG for such a great initiative and the revealing findings that were shared with attendees at the event. He however admitted that such research usually calls for lots of funding to have it done on a larger scale, hence the need for relevant stakeholders’ buy-in – including the media and established organisations – to ensure more of such research is carried out.