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Achieving herd immunity critical to economic recovery

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Dr. Yaw Baah, Secretary-General of TUC

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The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has urged Ghanaians, especially workers in the informal sector to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to expedite the country’s economic recovery.

This is because achieving herd immunity is critical to ensuring that the country quickly recovers from the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Yaw Baah, Secretary-General of TUC, said.

Herd immunity, also known as ‘population immunity’, is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through a previous infection.

Speaking in an interview with the media on the sidelines of a sensitisation forum organised by the Union for its informal sector wing- the Union of Informal Workers Association (UNIWA), in Accra on Monday, Dr Baah said the nearly two per cent vaccinated in the country was “not good.”

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He urged more Ghanaians to, therefore, make themselves available in subsequent vaccination exercises to be jabbed to facilitate economic recovery.

“From the figures I know, just about two percent of Ghanaians have been vaccinated fully. That is not good. We know that in countries where they have been vaccinated they are almost getting back to their normal life, footballs and so on, we see them on the television,” he said.

The sensitisation forum, which forms part of TUC and Danish Trade Union Development Agency (DTDA) COVID-19 Recovery Project, aims at getting more people, especially those in the informal sector to get vaccinated against the disease to enable the State to achieve herd immunity.

The four-day forum, taking place in the country’s COVID-19 hotspot regions; the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions, is expected to benefit more than 500 workers in the informal sector.

Less than two per cent of Ghanaians have so far been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 since the country’s health management body, the Ghana Health Service, rolled out the first vaccination exercise in March this year.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had said that the government was hoping to vaccinate about 20 million of the population by the end of the year.

Dr Baah appealed to the government to make testing free to encourage more people to test and know their status.

Dr Dominic Nuertey, a Health Officer from the Ghana Health Service, noted that misconceptions surrounding the vaccine continued to hamper the Service’s rollout of the vaccination exercise.

He assured of the safety of the vaccines and encouraged the citizenry to get vaccinated, adding that it was the only way Ghana and the rest of the world could return to normal life.

“Countries which have vaccinated the majority of their population have started witnessing a decline in daily infections and so we need to all get involved,” he said.

Mrs Mary Karimu, Head of International Affairs at TUC, said the Union since the outbreak of the pandemic had been championing worker-friendly and programmes within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal Eight, which worked towards recovery and resilient.

“On the part of the TUC, we believe that to promote a faster recovery, we need to pursue an all-inclusive and people-centred approach to ensure that no one is left behind. We need to continue sensitisation for the need of the vaccination,” she added.

Ghana, on September 4, 2021, took delivery of 1.2 million doses of Mordena vaccines through the COVAX Facility, which is expected to be rolled out in the coming days.

As of Sunday, September 12, 2021, Ghana recorded a total of 123,521 COVID-19 confirmed cases, 5,073 active cases, 315 new cases, 1,096 deaths and 117,352 recoveries.

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