A Deputy Minister for Health, Alexander Abban has said the people behind the spreading fake information about the supposed negative effects of the yet-to-be rolled out malaria vaccines have been rented by propagandists.
According to him, such people are being supported and funded by propagandists whose aim is to cause public resentment for the vaccination.
Speaking on The Big Issue on Saturday, the Gomoa West MP said that the Ghana Health Service had anticipated such moved by the faceless persons who have succeeded in creating doubts about the safety of the vaccines.
“In fact, because history has taught us this, when the launch was done, a number of the people who spoke including the Director General of the Ghana Health Service [Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare] cautioned that when we get to this stage, we should not be surprised to see anti-vaccine elements coming out with negative propaganda. Some of these people I should say are rented people, rather given money wherever they are based to churn out this information,” he said.
The past week has seen the circulation of several audio, video and text messages on social media cautioning the public against the planned anti-malaria vaccination program.
The information said the vaccines were bad and had negative implications on the health of persons.
Some of the messages said it was for mischievous reasons the vaccines were being rolled out in countries such as Ghana and not the US.
But Mr. Alexander Abban said such claims are untrue and must be disregarded.
While admitting that the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Health may not have done much to educate Ghanaians about the exercise, he said there is still the chance to ensure that as many Ghanaians as possible embrace the exercise.
“The point is that, it is not too late for vigorous campaign to be made for people to understand that whatever we are hearing from other people trying to cast doubt on the efficacy [of the vaccine] and even put fear in people that this is going to lead to impotence in people [is not true.”
Ghana is one of three African countries, aside Kenya and Malawi, in which the vaccine will be made available to children up to 2 years of age.
Malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers, claiming the life of one child every two minutes; most of these deaths are in Africa. About 20 percent of all children in Ghana have malaria parasites in their blood.