Akufo-Addo: COVID-19 vaccines won’t change your mind to vote NPP

The president says the country has taken delivery of enough COVID-19 vaccines, and so Ghanaians must take the jab to help the country reach herd immunity

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that COVID-19 vaccination cannot change a person’s political preferences, contrary to a myth being peddled in the media, both formal and informal.

The president said the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and will not harm anyone, and sounded a note of anxiety about creeping vaccine apathy: “So far, we have been able to administer only 6,420,973 doses out of the 17.7 million we have at our disposal.”

Addressing the nation on Wednesday (15 December) on measures being taken by the government to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, President Akufo-Addo said: “Let me state, as clearly as I can: the vaccines are safe. They will not harm you. They will protect you and your family.

“Contrary to the mischief being peddled by some, getting vaccinated will not cause you to vote for the NPP in the 2024 elections if you do not want to.”

He continued: “This is an outrageous claim. Vaccination cannot change your political preferences. That is not its purpose.

“Indeed, as of yesterday, Tuesday 14 December, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has taken delivery of 17,736,710 vaccine doses. We are expecting an additional 8,529,090 doses by the end of the year. We have enough vaccines in the system. So, my fellow Ghanaians, I encourage each and every one of you to take advantage of this, and get vaccinated.

“There are significant quantities of vaccines deployed to every corner of the country. We have thus declared the month of December as the vaccination month, and we are rolling out an aggressive campaign of vaccination, so that as many Ghanaians as possible have the opportunity to be vaccinated. It is a race against time, but we are determined to accomplish it,” he said.

Akufo-Addo said the government has beefed up its response capability and capacity to deal with the virus, should Ghana encounter an upsurge in infections.

“Over time, we have expanded our health-care infrastructure, including oxygen supply and reach, particularly with respect to testing and treatment centres, and the training of health professionals across the country in the care of severe and critically ill persons.

“However, our best bet in the fight remains adhering to the enhanced hygiene, social distancing and mask-wearing protocols, and getting vaccinated,” he stressed.

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Earlier, the Upper Manya Krobo District Health Directorate decried the low turnout for COVID-19 vaccination in the district and ascribed it to misconceptions among the people.

The health directorate estimated it would vaccinate 50,104 people in Upper Manya Krobo by the end of this year, but only 282 people have been vaccinated fully since the inception of the vaccination exercise.

However, roughly 820 people who took the first jab are hesitating to take a second shot.

According to the district director of health, Esther Dua Oyinka, some of the reasons for the high hesitancy in the district are that there is misinformation that the ruling New Patriotic Party government wants to use the vaccine to change the minds of voters in the district so they vote for the NPP in 2024 and subsequent elections.

“Some of the rumours are that if you are a man and you take the vaccine you will become impotent, which is a falsehood,” she said. “Others are saying if you are a lady, you will cease menstruation and you cannot give birth any longer.

“Others say if you take it you are going to die – that it will push you to an early grave because you will experience some funny signs and symptoms in your body.

“Some are even saying it is the government that has put in certain things to make up the vaccine … so that it will change their minds from voting for any other party except the sitting party,” Ms Oyinka lamented.

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online
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