Only about 12,810 out of an estimated adult population of more 150,000 have so far been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District in the Central Region.
This was disclosed by Dr Francis Bentil, the Medical Director of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Hospital, Agona Odoben, a member of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG).
He said the number of people so far vaccinated in the district against COVID-19 as of November 17, 2021 was woefully small, although there were vaccines readily available for them to get vaccinated to shore up the number of people vaccinated in the district.
“Unfortunately, the virus is not gone and the best way to control the further spread of the pandemic among Ghanaians is for the people to get vaccinated to protect themselves against it,” he said.
Dr Bentil said this in an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a public education campaign at Agona Odoben to sensitise the people to the need for them to continue to adhere to the safety protocols and get vaccinated .
The public education formed part of the COVID-19 Response Institutional Capacity Building (CRIB) project being undertaken by CHAG in 40 districts with mission hospitals to augment the government’s efforts to fight the pandemic.
The project is financially and logistically supported by UKaid in collaboration with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ministry of Health (MOH).
As part of the project, all beneficiary mission hospitals have been fully equipped to test for suspected COVID-19 cases, diagnose the disease and treat it as well.
“It is very worrying that a considerable number of people, including health workers, are still skeptical about the vaccine, which had prevented them from availing themselves to be vaccinated,” Dr Bentil stated.
He bemoaned the laxity in the adherence to the safety protocol, as many residents had abandoned the washing of hands, use of sanitisers and the wearing of face masks to protect themselves.
“Interestingly, many residents have abandoned the safety measures in their daily activities as if the virus is no more with us,” he said, noting that “as a country, we cannot withstand another wave of the virus if we let our guard down”.
He said the year was ending, which was characterised by many social activities that exposed many people to the virus, and there was, therefore, the need for people to take the vaccine to reduce their risk of contracting the virus.
“I wish to impress upon the populace to disabuse their minds about the vaccine and avail themselves to be vaccinated to reduce the spread of the deadly virus in the district,” Dr Bentil said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Hospital, Rev. Fr. Edwige Gaba, expressed concern about the low patronage of the vaccine by health personnel and residents in the district.