ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo urged citizens of the West African state on Sunday to ignore conspiracy theories surrounding coronavirus vaccines ahead of the launch of its nationwide inoculation campaign against the virus on Tuesday.
“Fellow Ghanaians, I know there are still some who continue to express doubts about the vaccine, others have expressed reservations about its efficacy, with some taking sides with conspiracy theorists who believe the vaccine has been created to wipe out the African race. This is far from the truth,” Akufo-Addo said in a nationwide address on Sunday night.
“Taking the vaccine will not alter your DNA, it will not embed a tracking device in your body, neither will it cause infertility in women or in men,” he said.
Ghana was the first country to receive vaccines as part of the global COVAX scheme aimed at providing poorer nations vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahead of the launch of its campaign after receiving 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca shots, health authorities in Ghana, like in other countries, are facing rumours and scepticism about vaccines, driven mostly by mistrust of pharmaceutical companies and other beliefs.
Akufo-Addo added that as president, and to reassure the public that the vaccine is safe, he and the first lady, together with the vice president and second lady, would take the vaccine publicly on Monday.
He said other senior political, religious, judiciary and legislative leaders would take their shots in public on Tuesday.
Ghana has recorded 84,023 coronavirus cases and 607 deaths, with nearly 200 deaths in the past month alone, hit by a second wave of infections.
(Reporting by Christian Akorlie; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Peter Cooney)