Sisters educate Africans to get COVID-19 vaccine

Sisters educate COVID-19

A massive campaign to educate and create awareness, instigated by religious sisters in Ghana, has encouraged thousands to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Religious sisters in the West African nation of more than 31 million people have been working hard to debunk COVID-19 vaccine myths. But misinformation is rampant, ranging from denial that the virus exists to various false side effects.

Elijah Nayoo received his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Mater Ecclesiae Hospital in Akrofu, run by the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church.

Previously, Nayoo believed that the vaccine was unsafe and had severe side effects on human bodies. He told Global Sisters Report he vowed never to take ‘the jab’ as it is referred to in many African countries.

“I couldn’t believe that one day I would receive the COVID-19 vaccine because I have always had a negative perception about the vaccines,” said the 36-year-old father of two who works as an accountant in Accra. Nevertheless, he got his first dose at the end of January.

According to the Coronavirus Resource Centre at Johns Hopkins University, as of February 16, just over 15% of the country’s population was fully vaccinated.

“I am thankful to the sisters for their key intervention toward containing the pandemic”, said Nayoo.

He explained that, through the education he received from the sisters, he has been able to speak to his family members and friends to take their jabs. “The campaign messages changed my mind, and that of other people, to avail themselves of the vaccine”.

Sister Lucy Hometowu, superior general of the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, said vaccine myths in Ghana and other African countries had led many citizens to forego vaccinations. This is despite virus cases and deaths rising fast in the continent amid a fourth wave of infections.

“We have undertaken educative campaigns to demystify the myth surrounding the vaccines,” said Hometowu who is also an obstetrician and gynaecologist.

The effort to educate the public about COVID-19 vaccinations by Catholic sisters in Ghana started at the same time in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. The programme has since been expanded to other countries, including India, Tanzania and Congo.


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