The government has denied media reports that it intends passing laws to sanction Ghanaians who refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine, a statement from the Information Ministry said.
“The said reportage is false. Government has neither taken nor announced any such decision,” the statement stressed.
It added: “The general public is advised to ignore such false publications. Ghanaians are, however, encouraged to take the vaccine to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 illness.”
Ghana’s full vaccination programme started on 2 March after high-profile personalities including President Nana Akufo-Addo and vice-president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and their spouses took their jabs publicly.
The country has received over 650,000 vaccines through the UN-backed COVAX facility and the government of India.
Read below the Information Ministry’s full statement:
RE: GOVERNMENT TO SANCTION PERSONS WHO REFUSE COVID-19 VACCINE
The attention of the Ministry of Information has been drawn to a false publication by a number of reputable online portals and newspapers to the effect that Government will sanction persons who refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine
The said reportage is false. The government has neither taken nor announced any such decision. For the avoidance of doubt, below is the quotation of the remarks by the Minister for Information at a press briefing in Peduase on Monday, March 8, 2021, when asked about whether or not sanctions will be imposed on persons who refused the COVID-19 vaccines
“As at now, there are no sanctions that have been rolled out. We are encouraging strongly that people should take the vaccine and we are pleased that we are observing that the initial vaccine hesitancy appears to be toning down a bit and we congratulate you our colleagues in the media as you are helping us. We congratulate our colleagues in NCCE, ISD.
“As we are getting the message out, we are noticing that hesitancy is gradually coming down and a lot more people are volunteering to take the vaccine. So we have had no need as at now to introduce any sanctions. Should it become necessary at some point, that we consider either what has been done I think in places like Israel or other places, where they will say if you haven’t taken the vaccine you can’t attend a public programme.
“If you haven’t taken the vaccine I think in Dubai, you have to do a PCR test at your own cost every week or something, Should it become necessary that we get there, we would advise accordingly but for now, we are happy at the level of encouragement and volunteering with which people are stepping up and taking it.”
The general public is advised to ignore such false publications. Ghanaians are, however, encouraged to take the vaccine to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 illness.