KNUST Professor Allays Fears Of Ghanaian Citizens On COVID-19 Vaccine
A professor of Biochemistry and Biotechnology of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has revealed that anyone who is not vaccinated to protect against the COVID-19 stands a greater chance of getting infected by the novel Coronavirus. He also observed that those who even get infected and recover from the infection may not have antibody levels as high as those who will receive the vaccines.
Professor Peter Twumasi made this revelation in an exclusive interview with Irene Sakyiwaa-Siaw and Juliet Dery of the University Relations Office. Professor Twumasi stated that vaccines are not new therapies in our country’s health delivery system. He recalled that many grownups in Ghana have received vaccines for the well-known six (6) childhood killer diseases including Poliomyelitis, Smallpox, and Measles. He said, vaccines, since its discovery by the English Doctor Edward Jenner in 1796, have been very essential for treatment of diseases globally.
The biochemist also observed that unlike traditional vaccines which sometimes consists of whole virus or bacteria (attenuated vaccine), this biotech COVID-19 vaccine is made up of only one of the viral proteins (spike protein) and therefore receiving the vaccine does not introduce coronavirus into your body.
He noted that many a time, most vaccines come with their possible allergies and side effects which the new COVID-19 vaccine is not an exception. This is because the body may see the vaccine as a ‘foreign material’ and may try to fight it as it does when it encounters one. Thus, vaccination may cause mild fever and headache in some people, but this can be managed with paracetamol or other pain relievers. He added that the intrusion of vaccine deposits into the tissue can also cause local swelling which does not last for long.
Professor Twumasi said studies conducted on COVID-19 showed a low prevalence of the disease among the youth, especially people under the age of eighteen (18). He explained that these people are overwhelmingly asymptomatic when they contract the novel Coronavirus (SARS CoV-2). Conversely, it has been revealed that people who are aged sixty (60) and above are the most vulnerable groups and therefore scientists are focusing more on these vulnerable groups. Therefore, persons under 18 years are being excluded in most vaccine clinical trials, but he assured the public that persons under 18 years would be vaccinated when evidence within this age group becomes readily available.
Professor Twumasi, who is also the Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), told the reporters that it is established medically that only 5 to 10 percent of people who contract the novel Coronavirus will become symptomatic or sick. Majority, that is ninety (90) to ninety-five (95) percent asymptomatic proportion will show no symptoms at all. He said that COVID-19 has a very low mortality rate relative to other viral diseases such as Ebola especially on the African continent, and these deaths mainly occur among people with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and pulmonary or lung diseases.
He therefore concluded that the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine does not alter or modify the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of persons vaccinated as alleged by some conspiracy theorists.
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