The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has stated that COVID-19 vaccines in the country are potent and efficacious.
It said data available to it supports the efficacy and safety of all the COVID-19 vaccines used in Ghana.
These were contained in a statement jointly signed by its President, Dr Frank Serebour and General Secretary, Dr Titus Beyuo in reaction to media reports on a petition by some doctors to the President on the vaccines.
The statement said the GMA found the contents of the said petition "misleading, unfortunate, and not based on available local and international scientific data".
It said, it therefore, dissociates itself from the said petition.
"In the era of evidence-based medicine, it is unacceptable that professionals will draw such flawed conclusions based on skewed data that has not gone through the rigours of scientific proof", it said.
The statement said the contents of the petition did not in anyway reflect the situation of COVID-19 in Ghana.
It said the evidence that the vaccines reduced the incidence of critical illness, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission and deaths globally and in Ghana was undisputed.
It said whiles it acknowledged that individual doctors might have concerns based on personal beliefs, it encouraged doctors to be guided by the available medical evidence in their public discourse and channel all grievances through the appropriate avenues for redress.
"If care is not taken, such perceptions will be carried through to these other vaccines and that will create a huge health challenge for us," it added.
The statement encouraged all persons in Ghana to avail themselves to the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programme and continue to adhere to all the safety protocol.
Earlier, some concerned doctors in the country had petitioned the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to quit the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines whose risk they say far outweigh any potential benefits.
According to them, many safety issues have been raised all over the world with the vaccines, saying most of the vaccines were developed under a year.
The petition said although there were no reliable Ghanaian database of adverse events of the COVID-19 vaccines, “we had no option than to refer to foreign databases namely the United states and WHO’s databases”.
Some of the doctors who signed the petition include Dr Bismark Opoku-Asare, member, COVID case management team, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital; Dr Faisal Adjei, Surgical Specialist, and Dr William Ghunney, Specialist Hematologist.
“Individually, as physicians, we have also personally seen many patients who develop known side-effects of these vaccines within days to weeks of going for these jabs,” they said and mentioned some of the effects to include facial paralysis from Bell’s palsy, strokes, thrombotic phenomena (blood clots), myocarditis, visual disturbances, among others.
Reacting to the petition from the concerned doctors, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, emphasised that government’s mandatory vaccination policy was non-negotiable.
Speaking on GTV yesterday morning, the Health Minister stressed that while the vaccination was not compulsory, it was required to access public offices and organisations for service.
“If you are going to a public place and you are not vaccinated, those of us there too we want protection. It is our right so we don’t want to entertain you there until you are vaccinated,” he explained.
Giving some statistics, the concerned doctors said there had been 20,622 deaths associated with COVID-19 vaccines, according to the United States’ VAERS database as of December 17, 2021, as well as 1,017,001 reports of adverse events from all age groups following COVID-19 vaccines, including 21,382 deaths and 166,606 serious injuries between December 14, 2020 and December 31, 2021.
They are, therefore, requesting that all forms of mandates across the country requiring proof of vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines be rescinded with immediate effect and there should be a pause in the vaccine roll out.
On how feasible the country’s vaccination roll out plan was and its implications, the concerned doctors said from all indications across the world, higher vaccination rates did not equal to less cases and less deaths and they cited countries such as Israel and the United Kingdom where there were high vaccination rates with booster programmes, yet they were struggling to get the virus under control, especially with these new variants.
According to them, the current situation on rate of vaccination and the spread and transmission of the infection raised doubts over whether the vaccines were really achieving its aim.
“In fact, four of the five most vaccinated countries are experiencing COVID-19 surges,” they said and added that other studies also showed that vaccination levels were unrelated to COVID-19 rates.
They said those vaccines did not prevent infections or spread and cited recent studies which showed that the vaccinated were becoming more relevant in the spread of COVID-19.
Many studies, they said, showed outbreaks within fully vaccinated populations while other studies showed vaccinated populations as sources for outbreaks.
Main drivers of pandemic
The petitioners added that over the last few months of 2021, the assertion that those COVID vaccines reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death had been shown to be inaccurate as there were examples of that in other parts of the world.
They also claimed that some schools of thought had theorised that the vaccinated were the main drivers of the pandemic.
“Reports from some colleagues in one of the nation's leading COVID-19 treatment centre show that of the 25 patients that were on admission from December 13, 2021 to January 3, 2022, 20 of them were vaccinated and currently out of the eight patients who are on admission, six are fully vaccinated,” they stated.
Vaccines FDA approved
Mr Agyeman-Manu stressed that government’s vaccine mandate policy was the surest way to protect the majority of the population as vaccines had been proved to be efficacious and effective.
He said the COVID-19 vaccines being used in Ghana had been tested by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana and that the vaccines had no adverse effects on individuals who got vaccinated.
“Among the people who have been vaccinated in the country are the elderly people who were among the first to be vaccinated. With our testing, we did not see any adverse effect that leads to death,” he said.