GJA, others charge media to counter COVID-19 vaccine misinformation

Journalists have been urged to counter misinformation on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Ghana.

In a joint statement from the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) and the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG), the associations stressed that journalists should be at the forefront of sensitisation efforts.

“We acknowledge the fact that there is a lot of misinformation being peddled around and we, as bearers of factual information, must endeavour to feed the public with credible and factual information about the COVID-19 vaccines to save lives.”

“We have done it before, and we will do it again this time around. Let us all rally around the national flag to undertake this exercise to save the country from the pandemic,” the statement said.

The GJA, GIBA and PRINPAG also said they will be collaborating with the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Information to roll out series of educational activities to equip the media with the appropriate information to enhance their work of informing and educating the public.

President Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia will later today be the first persons to publicly receive shots of the newly arrived COVID-19 vaccines in Ghana, along with their spouses.

Ghana currently has 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine which were procured with the help of COVAX.

Find below the full statement

GJA/GIBA/PRINPAG urge journalists to ensure successful COVID-19 vaccination

 On February 24, 2021, Ghana received 600,000 COVAX vaccines, which are part of an initial tranche of deliveries of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines. The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines in Ghana is critical in the fight against the pandemic.

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) and the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) note with satisfaction arrangements made by the government to fight COVID-19 and ensure that Ghanaians are safe from the pandemic. The three media groups understand that the combination of getting vaccinated and following World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations to protect yourselves and others, provide the best antidote to COVID-19.

We believe that, bringing an end to the COVID-19 pandemic will relieve the entire nation of the heavy toll the virus is having on the country’s education, economy, healthcare and many other critical sectors of our society. With the vaccination exercise soon to begin, we are convinced that, having accurate information about the exercise with exact public trust is the sure way to ensure the success of the programme. In that regard, we the three media Associations urge journalists and media houses to help inform and educate the public with the facts on the benefits and the advantages of being vaccinated in order to ensure that, they avail themselves of the opportunity to keep safe from COVID-19.

We urge all journalists and media houses to continue stressing on the need to adhere to the WHO safety protocols of wearing nose masks, ensuring social distancing, avoiding crowds and frequent washing of hands with soap under running water.

Let us highlight the fact that, our best protection against COVID-19 is a combination of getting vaccinated in addition to strictly adhering to these protocols. No single bullet can kill the pandemic and so it is important we educate the public about the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccination.

The GJA, GIBA and PRINPAG acknowledge the fact that, just like any other vaccine or medicine, the COVID-19 vaccine may have adverse drug effect. But we are assured by medical experts that, the adverse drug effect of the vaccine is likely to be mild. Again, we are convinced by medical evidence that, since 1978, Ghana has rolled out vaccinations for 13 different diseases, which have helped to eliminate those diseases, including measles from the country. We should, therefore, urge the public to disabuse their minds of reports that, the vaccine would cause harm to human health. Indeed, the vaccine is more helpful than harmful.

The GJA, GIBA and PRINPAG, in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Information, will roll out series of educational activities to equip the media with the appropriate information to enhance their work of informing and educating the public. We acknowledge the fact that, there is a lot of misinformation being peddled around and we, as bearers of factual information, must endeavour to feed the public with credible and factual information about the COVID-19 vaccines to save lives. We have done it before and we will do it again this time around. Let us all rally around the national flag to undertake this exercise to save the country from the pandemic.

May God help our nation Ghana and make us great and strong.

 

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