The Corona Virus, or Covid-19, is an infectious disease which attacks the respiratory system and causes difficulty in breathing. This virus was discovered in 2019 and has claimed a lot of lives all over the world to date. Up until now, various countries have resorted to the wearing of face masks and protective gear or the use of chemicals to prevent contamination.
In early March 2020, when Ghana recorded its first coronavirus case, the government implemented protocols for the safety of citizens. Individuals encouraged one another to follow the protocols in order to avoid unnecessary infections and increased death rates. Nose masks have become the new normal. The use of sanitizer became habitual and that became the best trade one could invest in. Places like banks and malls were prohibited if one had no nose mask on.
Before one could enter any place where a lot of people were, Veronica buckets filled with water were placed outside so that one would wash his or her hands before entering. Anyone who did not follow these protocols was punished by the police and even the military. Travel in and outside the country was not allowed. Schools were closed down and gradually, a lockdown for about ten months happened.
The media did its great duty by sensitising Ghanaian citizens on the need to follow the protocols. Research showed that about 98% of the population complied with the social distancing guidelines put in place by the ministry of transport.
The living conditions were like that till the arrival of Ghana’s first 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which came into the country on February 24, 2021. Today, about 70-80 percent of Ghanaians do not wear nose masks and do not use sanitizers anymore. The broadcast of the COVID-19 protocols and their updates are gradually becoming something of the past for the media.
The perception that they will not get the virus immediately they get vaccinated is a misconception and has become a menace because people are still getting infected and others have refused to follow protocol.
Speaking to Samuel Ampem-Darko, a taxi driver, about why he was not wearing his nose mask, he said, “Madam, I am tired of that thing. I have been wearing the nose mask for several hours every day for the last week since the virus was confirmed. If I do not wear it anymore, I will not be affected. We have all heard the vaccine is here and it is free. A number of people have taken theirs and I will take mine soon so I will not wear it again.”
Madam Sarah Mensah, a trader at the mallam market said, “The vaccine is here, so why will I be wearing this mask that makes me uncomfortable? I know I will get some of the vaccine, so COVID-19 is no longer part of my worries. “
Getting vaccinated means the pace of getting the virus is very low, but that does not guarantee that one is not exposed to the virus. It is therefore important for all individuals in the country to keep following the safety precautions like it was done before.
Even with the aspect of vaccination, some citizens have claimed that the vaccine is evil due to myths and superstition. “I can not allow my family to take this thing they are bringing to us that is a vaccine. Even if they tie me down to get the vaccine, I will not. It is evil that they are introducing to us, “a student said.
As of July 13, 2021, “Our World in Data” reported that only 2.95% of the African population had received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. In Ghana, only about 2.8% of the population have been vaccinated.
George Mwinnyaa, a PHD student at John Hopkins University who was previously a research fellow at the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said, “The biggest rumor is that there’s a big conspiracy theory that it [the vaccine] is coming for a tryout and the Ghanians are being used as guinea pigs.” He clarified, saying, “Of course, this is not true.”
Every Ghanaian needs to be vaccinated and after getting the vaccine, there is the need to comply with the COVID-19 protocols put in place by the government and the health sector to help save lives.