The approved covid-19 vaccines: Series of clinical trials is the way to go in Ghana
This is not a grande show of my lexical dexterity, neither is it an exhibition of my public health-oriented epidemiological prowess. However, this is a prudent contribution to the intellectual discourse currently ongoing relative to the approved COVID-19 vaccines.
It is an incontestable fact that the world finds itself in an uncharted territory relative to this pandemic to the extent that even world super powers with strong health systems are grappling to contain the devastating impacts occasioned by this heartless virus. Their health systems are being stretched beyond its limits.
The once novel coronavirus has come back with a more draconian vengeance in the form of a new variant (strain) highly infectious and easily transmissible among human subjects and it's claiming lives at an alarming rate across the globe which Ghana has not been spared. Our active case count has started surging at a very terrifying rate. This is indicative of a resurgence of an ever-increasing horizontal transmission of the virus. The detection of the new strain at Kotoka International Airport through genomic sequencing is what even frightens Ghanaians the more.
By the grace of God, potent vaccines which have the capability to confer adequate protective immunity have been manufactured by Mega Pharmaceutical Corporations like Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca etc. It is worth noting the fact that not all the discovered vaccines will be admissible in Ghana considering the temperature requirements of some of them due to our weak cold chain architecture.
There is therefore the need to conduct series of clinical trials using those approved vaccines which can survive our cold chain system in order to ascertain which of the approved vaccines will work perfectly in our geographic jurisdiction.
Such Clinical Trials should adopt the gold standard; Randomized Double-Blind Placebo Control Trials using Ghanaian residents as study subjects. The immense benefits of Randomized Double-Blind Placebo Control Trials cannot be overemphasized as it would afford us the opportunity to select a potent vaccine which takes cognisance of our genetic and environmental conditioning and possess a higher propensity to confer adequate protective immunity against COVID-19; while simultaneously reducing or bringing to the barest minimum the cases of Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFIs) which will eventually result. To spice it up, such clinical trials would remove all possible confounders and hence our epidemiological findings and conclusions arising from the trials would be scientifically valid and will be truly Ghanaian in nature.
We already find ourselves in a global environment where some persons are always against vaccinations with claims which are not founded on scientific grounds. Hence, if we fail as a country to do due diligence and just jump onto the bandwagon and introduce any vaccine at all which comes with frequent cases of terrible 'Adverse Reactions' our goal to immunize Ghanaians against COVID-19 will monumentally fail and by extension, our EPI efforts in Ghana will not be spared since similar unscientific songs will be sung around them. We must not lose sight of the fact that such bad news of adverse reactions occasioned by the administration of vaccines travels faster and will cause fear and pandemonium especially with the influx of social media.
The receptivity of Ghanaians towards such bad news is not in doubt, hence, the need to be very sure of the particular vaccine which will be very favorable to Ghanaians Public Health-wise. There is therefore the need to ride on the cocktail of caution backed by science in our quest to confer adequate protective immunity on Ghanaians against the coronavirus.
Undoubtedly, the task is daunting but highly possible to achieve and that is what should motivate us as a nation fighting an unseen viral enemy whose viral army poses an existential threat to our collective survival as a people.
God Bless Our Homeland Ghana and Make Our Nation Great And Strong.
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