Information on the COVID-19 Vaccine
Frequently Asked Questions on the COVID-19 vaccine
FAQs on the COVID-19 Vaccine
Why should I take COVID19 vaccine ?
COVID-19 is easily transmitted and can lead to serious illness and death, even for people who are young and healthy.
By taking the COVID-19 vaccine you also protect your friends and family.
How dangerous is the COVID-19 disease?
Although for some people the COVID-19 virus causes mild illness, it can make others very ill and can be fatal. Older persons and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes) are more vulnerable. In Ghana fatal cases recorded since March 2020 have exceeded a 1000.
How do we know that COVID19 vaccines are safe?
COVID-19 vaccines go through rigorous, multi-stage testing processes, including studies that involve tens of thousands of people.
How effective are COVID-19 vaccines?
At the moment, vaccines available for COVID-19 have efficacy of between 60-94%. The World Health Organization guidance is that COVID-19 vaccines should demonstrate at least 50% efficacy against severe disease.
How do we know that COVID-9 vaccines in Ghana are safe?
There are strong precautions in place to help ensure the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines. Before receiving validation from The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), The World Health Organization (WHO) and national regulatory agencies ensure that , COVID-19 vaccines undergo rigorous testing in clinical trials to ensure that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and efficacy. These trials, which include people at high risk for COVID-19, are specifically designed to identify any common side effects or other safety concerns.
How is it possible to develop a safe vaccine so quickly?
While COVID-19 vaccines have been developed faster than any other vaccine in history, safety was just as much a focus as in any other vaccine development. Scientists prioritized COVID-19 vaccine development because of the global emergency.
The speed in the development of COVID-19 vaccine has also been made possible because of the availability of new tools and technologies used in vaccine development.
What is Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA)?
This is when a medical product is authorized for use during a pandemic to ensure timely access to much needed health products. The objective is to make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics available as rapidly as possible to address the emergency, while adhering to stringent criteria of safety, efficacy and quality. This authorization is given for the duration of the pandemic. In the EUA, manufacturers are requested to submit any additional documentation on the product as and when it becomes available.
EUA is allowed only when the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) is satisfied that the product has met all efficacy, safety and quality specifications.
Do the COVID19 vaccines have adverse reactions?
Like all medicines, vaccines can cause adverse reactions. Most of these are mild and short term, such as pain at the injection site, tiredness or a headache. Most reactions to vaccines are mild and go away within a few days on their own. The typical side effects can be managed with rest and lots of liquids.
Many people don't get any side effects. Some people might feel slightly unwell because their immune system is responding to the vaccine, but this is not an illness.
More serious or long-lasting side effects to vaccines are possible but extremely rare.
When will COVID-19 vaccines be ready for distribution in Ghana?
COVID-19 vaccines have been available in Ghana since March 2021 and has since been distributed in phases. Once a shipment arrives it is distributed based on the Ghana Health Service vaccination plan. More information can be found (https://www.ghs.gov.gh).
Will there be enough COVID-19 vaccines for everyone?
As doses of COVID-19 vaccines become available, they will be provided first to those at risk. The specific groups that are eligible for the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines may vary depending on the availability of the vaccine.
Can I take a vaccine if I am breastfeeding?
Vaccination can be offered to breastfeeding women. WHO does not recommend discontinuation of breastfeeding after vaccination.
Can I take a vaccine if I am pregnant?
There is little data available to assess vaccine safety in pregnancy. Pregnant women may receive the vaccine if the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks. Pregnant women should consult their doctor about the vaccine to get information about the risks and benefits to be able to make an informed choice about it.
What is the importance of the second doze of COVID-19 vaccine?
Some COVID-19 vaccines such as Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccine require two standard doses for more better protection. Accordingly, WHO recommends two standard doses. The second dose gives an additional boost to the immune system and trains the body to fight the virus.
Is it possible for me to get COVID-19 after getting vaccinated?
While COVID-19 vaccines have high levels of efficacy, especially against hospitalization and severe disease, no vaccine is 100% protective. As a result, there will be some small percentage of vaccinated people who may contract COVID-19 in spite of being vaccinated.
If I have had COVID-19 before and have recovered, do I still need to be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available?
Yes, you should go ahead and take a vaccine even if you had COVID-19 as there is not enough research to show how much antibodies you have after illness. However, it is recommended that you wait until your symptoms disappear.
Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?
No. You cannot get COVID 19 from the vaccine. As of December 2020, vaccines being administered or reviewed for approval did not contain any live virus of the type that causes COVID-19.
Will COVID-19 vaccines provide long-term protection?
We do not yet know how long protection from different COVID-19 vaccines will last. This also depend on a vaccine's specific character but also on a person's age, their underlying health conditions, previous COVID-19 disease, current exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and others.
When will the vaccine start being effective against the virus?
You need to wait 14 days after getting vaccinated to gain significant levels of protection. It increases gradually after the vaccination.
For two-dose vaccines, you need to take both doses to achieve the highest level of immunity possible.
If I get a COVID-19 vaccine, will I still need to take other precautions such as physical distancing, wearing of mask and other?
While a COVID-19 vaccine is most effective against serious illness and death, we still need a better understanding about their ability to protect you from getting infected and passing the virus on to others.
So you need to continue to maintain at least a one metre distance from others, cover a cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently with soap under running water and wear a mask. You need to avoid enclosed, crowded or poorly ventilated spaces. Always follow guidance from Ghana Health Services.
How can one report of adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine?
In the unlikely event of an adverse reaction such as fever, welling of the injection site or fever after receiving the vaccine, you can report to the nearest health facility for treatment and also send a report to the Medsafety App.
What to do to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19?
WHO recommends the following combined actions:
- Maintain at least a 1-metre distance between yourself and others to reduce your risk of infection when they cough, sneeze or speak; maintain an even greater distance between yourself and others when indoors.
- Always wear a mask in public places and when with others. The appropriate use, storage and cleaning or disposal are essential to make masks as effective as possible.
- Clean your hands before you put your mask on, as well as before and after you take it off, and after you touch it at any time.
- Make sure it covers your nose, mouth and chin.
- When you take off a mask, store it in a clean plastic bag, and every day either wash it if it’s a fabric mask, or dispose of a medical mask in a trash bin.
- Get the COVID-19 vaccine.
How can I learn more about COVID-19 vaccines?
Everyone is encouraged to rely on reputable and authoritative sources of information, such as health care providers and public health officials, to help them make informed choices and stay up to date. The latest information about COVID-19 vaccines from the World Health Organization is available.