The Ghana Health Service (GHS) in collaboration with UNICEF on Monday commenced a two-day workshop in Kumasi, to train selected Journalists across the country on Covid-19 reportage and Vaccine misinformation.
The programme aims to equip the participants on ways to report on the pandemic appropriately and within the right context to avoid misleading the public.
Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, Programme Manager for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, GHS, said the programme was expected to enhance the skills of the Journalists in covering issues related to the pandemic.
This, he said, would enable them provide the public with the right and up-to-date information in order to make informed decisions on the ways they could protect themselves.
Dr Amponsa-Achiano stated that the country had received over 7.3 million vaccines made up of various types such as AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Sputnik V, among others.
He advised Ghanaians to take advantage of the ongoing vaccination exercise to get inoculated, saying they should discard the misconception about the vaccines.
According to him, the only way to keep the citizenry out of danger was to get vaccinated.
Dr Amponsa-Achiano called on the Journalists to be Ambassadors of Covid-19 by giving accurate information, adding, “Do not propagate disinformation, misinformation and rumours”.
Madam Offeibea Baddoo, Communications Officer UNICEF, said the media outreach regarding the pandemic had guided and helped millions of Ghanaians to make informed decisions in their daily lives.
She said they were happy to partner with the GHS to hold the programme to share information and ideas on misinformation on Covid-19 and its reportage.
Madam Baddoo said misinformation in every way was devastating to everybody and that it was essential for the media to play its role of informing the public.
Mr George Sabblah, the Head of Safety Monitoring, Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), said all the vaccines the Authority approved were safe for Ghanaians, adding, “We will not allow any vaccine that will be harmful to Ghanaians.”
He added that the objective of the Authority's Emergency Use Authorisation was to make medicines, vaccines and diagnostic available as rapidly as possible to address emergencies in the country, while adhering to stringent criteria of safety, efficacy and quality.
Mr Sabblah said the FDA received about 30 serious adverse events following the ongoing immunization exercise, adding that most of the events were coincidental or known during clinical trials of the vaccines.
He added that three adverse effects happened for every 1,000 and that the side effects were mild and resolved within a day or two.
By Abdulai Haruna / Elizabeth Yaa Brobbey