The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has encouraged Ghanaians to avail themselves of the COVID-19 vaccination when the government eventually acquires them for the good of the public.
It has further advised the public not to shy away from the vaccine, saying it is meant to deal with the virus.
“The education on the vaccine is necessary because the conspiracy theory is already ahead of us,” the Deputy Chairperson in charge of Operations of the NCCE, Mr Samuel Asare Akuamoah, told the Daily Graphic.
“The fake news people are already ahead of us. The vaccines are not in town, but they are telling people that if the vaccines come they should not take them because there are adverse effects.
“I have even met health workers who say they will not take it because they have listened to some of these fake news people on the Internet. So, this is why we are asking people to go for the vaccine since they are for their own safety,” Mr Akuamoah added.
He said the leadership of the commission would be the first to avail itself of the vaccination if given the opportunity to do so.
“I am prepared to be the first person to take it,” he emphasised.
He said the more people got vaccinated, the more the country would be able to contain the virus.
“If we are able to vaccinate many people, then we build that immunity against the disease. It’s a new kind of message we are adding to the street education on COVID-19,” he said.
Mr Akuamoah said the NCCE was using street education and many other strategies to reach Ghanaians across the country to disabuse the minds of the public on any form of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccination process.
The street education, mounted by the commission since the early part of this month, involves NCCE staff going onto the streets to educate people on the need to wear their face masks at all times and adhere to the other COVID-19 safety etiquette.
He explained that because the virus was spread through fluids, it was necessary that the education on containing its spread was regular and sustained so that people did not let down their guard.
“We are adding the vaccine dimension to the education,” he said.
Mr Akuamoah noted that the street education was done during the rush hours across the country, especially in the major cities, including Accra and Kumasi.
He said people who often used public transportaion did not wear the face masks although they spent long hours in traffic, stressing that “so we take the opportunity to meet them in traffic and educate and encourage them to observe the protocols”.
“So, as we display the billboards, we also get our officers to talk to the people in traffic to ensure that they do the right thing and observe the protocols,” he said.
The commission’s staff, he said, went to the streets, markets, places of worship and fellowship, including churches and mosques, and employed the use of vans in communities and social media platforms to reach other targets.
Mr Akuamoah said it had been observed that although a good part of the public had the face masks, they appeared not convinced about why they needed to put them on, so “we have taken the decision to remind them of wearing them”.
“You would see people walking in town without masks, but when you asked where their masks were, they pulled them out of their bags,” he said.
He, therefore, called on the Inspector General of Police to step up the enforcement of the wearing of face masks in the country in view of its flagrant disregard, especially on commercial vehicles.
He said although logistics were a problem, the commission did not have to sit down until it got all of them (logistics) before educating Ghanaians, and that it was making use of what it currently had.