Ghana on Wednesday February 24, received the first shipment of 600, 000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine delivered through the COVAX programme. The country was the first country in West Africa to benefit from the programme.
Going by COVID-19 trends, Ghanaians should be familiar with the name AstraZeneca. It is a vaccine produced to fight the original coronavirus strain.
AstraZeneca, produced in the United Kingdom, is said to be cheaper and easier to transport and store when compared to other vaccines that have been approved for use so far.
However, even before the vaccine arrived, they have been conspiracy theories flying around, about not only the origin of the coronavirus, but the vaccine, as people speculate that, it is going to be used to reduce the population of the African race.
According to the Information minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the government is contemplating imposing sanction on persons who refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday at the Peduase Lodge, Hon. Oppong Nkrumah stated that the government believes it will have to force those unwilling to take a jab to do so.
"We are pleased that we are observing that the initial vaccine hesitancy appears to be toning down a bit and a lot of people are volunteering or stepping up to it. So we have not had a need as of now to introduce sanctions. Should it become necessary at some point that we consider what has been done in places like I think Israel or other places where they will say if you haven't taken the vaccine you can't attend a public programme. Should it become necessary that we get there, we'll advise accordingly."
This newspaper is of the opinion that the threat of a sanction should just be for effect to dramatise the seriousness of the situation.
The threat is premature, as Ghana, has only taken delivery of only 600,000 doses of the vaccine, plus the additional 50,000 donated by the Indian government. The number is not enough to cover the over 30 million Ghanaians, expected to be vaccinated.
The minister and agencies under him, should rather concentrate on educating Ghanaians on the need to go for the jab, instead of issuing veil threat.
For the information of the minister, some Ghanaians still don't believe of the existence of the virus, let alone compelling them to go for a vaccine to cure a non-existent disease.
Media houses engaged to run advertisement for the government on COVID-19, since last year, are yet to be paid. The situation makes it difficult to engage them, except the ones who still do, as part of their civic responsibility to the people.
In the meantime, we appeal to Ghanaians to go for the vaccine, as well as adhere to the existing protocols. It is important to stress that COVID -19 is real and has claimed the lives of many Ghanaians.
Anyone pretending that otherwise is the case is rather being careless. One does not have to die to realise that the virus is deadly.
We argue that what is needed at this time is not a threat of sanction, but rather aggressive education and encouraging Ghanaians to avail themselves for the vaccine.