Some women in the New Juaben Municipality of the Eastern Region have mixed reactions towards the Covid-19 vaccine.
I was at the Central Business District of Koforidua to get myself a dress.
Suddenly, the rains began and forced me to stay at the shop where I bought the dress. I had no choice than to read bits of stories on social media using my mobile phone.
Minutes into my reading, three other women walked briskly into the shop to take shelter as well.
They were friends with the shop owner.
Soon Covid-19 vaccine conversation started.
I heard from one “I have gone for my Covid-19 vaccine jab, I think it’s nothing to fear. All I had to do was to sip some malt and called a health personnel to book me. Afterwards I took some heavy Kenkey, slept off and nothing has happened to me again.”
She asked the other women if they had gone for theirs as well.
These women are largely traders who sell second hand clothes, second hand bags and food stuffs in the Central Business District.
Her friends gave a negative response in the Akan language.
Abena Owusu, who roasts plantain to sell said, “I haven’t made my mind yet, I’m told the vaccine contains some things that would be injected into your body, you may get some reaction.”
The other, Serwaa, who sells second hand clothing, was indifferent. She used to believe the theories surrounding the vaccine but in recent times that seems to have changed.
“I have stopped believing those theories, even Yellow Fever vaccine we took, I think I am ready to take the jab when the time comes. I have made enough empty promises already.”
At this point, the very first woman had to show her Covid-19 vaccine card as evidence of her taking the jab.
She had added the card to her important cards. From where I sat, I saw her bank cards, NHIS card, Voter IDs and others.
“I am keeping my card well, I was told it’s a very vital document to own now like a passport.”
Vida Yeboah, the owner of the shop, had taken her jab already through a health personnel friend.
“My friend called me to come [and] take the jab if only I was ready. After taking it, my doctor friend advised me to take paracetamol to ease any pain I might feel later on.”
She added: “I forgot to take the pill and I was busy selling dresses only to feel the pains. I had to quickly get the paracetamol. Throughout that time and the evening I took about 10 tablets of the paracetamol before I felt okay and prepared for my travelling outside Koforidua. I have been very fine after that time.”
The rains had stopped and soon they left the shop.
I found the conversation amusing especially when it was from a simple sample random research by chances.
In the Eastern Region, only health personnel and some other identified personalities had the opportunity to take the jab.
Others who had the opportunity did so through protocols from health personnel.
The Disease Control Unit of the Eastern Regional Health Directorate is yet to conduct a survey on the readiness of residents including women or preparedness for the Covid-19 jab when it’s rolled out holistically by government.
Women form a highest percentage of the populace, of over 51 percent, in the Eastern Region and most of them are bread winners in their nuclear families, according to the 2010 Population Census.
Their rights to relevant and timely information would be critical.
The selected populace who took their first vaccine jab are expected to take the second soon.
By Yvonne Neequaye
The writer is a mentee under the Mobilizing Media to Fighting COVID-19 project by Journalists for Human Rights.