Oman Ghana versus COVID-19

Covid 192323 File photo

Thu, 23 Dec 2021 Source: Cameron Duodu

It must be one of the most difficult – and exasperating – tasks in the world to be the President of a nation like Ghana.

For you may travel all over the world, talking eloquently to the leaders of “the developed nations”, to try to persuade them that the pandemic that is afflicting the world, Covid-19 (with its variants) is a truly global destroyer and that nowhere is safe from it, until everywhere is safe from it.

You may win the empathy of powerful world leaders as you point out that although, the scientists of the “developed countries” have managed to manufacture a vaccine that has been seen to work against the pandemic, the politicians of the “developed countries” [you beg their pardon, but like themselves!] are, contrary to undertakings they had earlier made to the World Health Organisation(WHO) nevertheless hoarding the vaccine in their countries.

Reports suggest that whereas these governments of the “developed countries” are targeting 100 percent of their populace for vaccination, and getting closer to their objective every day, less than 10% of the populace of the developing countries have so far been vaccinated, mainly as a result of a lack of vaccines; delays in the delivery of available vaccines, and other failures due to the scarcity of working systems in the developing countries.

Is this dichotomy in the reaction to COVID-19 fair? you ask. Air travel (you continue) has made international contacts extremely easy. And since the Covid-19 virus and its latest variant (Omicron) in particular, are very easily transmissible, it is in everyone's educated self-interest to see that all the people on the planet are fully vaccinated.

As a result of your Government's efforts, you hear that plenty of vaccines has arrived in your country, and you are emboldened to announce that your Government will soon be able to vaccinate its entire adult population.

Then, you get the shock of your life: an intelligence report from home tells you that some mischievous people are spreading the fake news that if a person allows himself or herself to be vaccinated, the “vaccine will make that person vote for your governing NPP whether he/she wants to do so or not!”

WHAAAAT! How does one counter such fake news? If your Government says it is not true, the conspiracy theorists shoot back, “And are you so naïve as to expect them to admit that the vaccine will make you vote for the NPP? Do you think they are fools? It is a secret project of theirs, man!”

Wow! Are people so wicked that despite the gains that the world is known to have made, through vaccination (such as the elimination of smallpox from the world and the near-extinction of polio and yellow fever) they try to dissuade others from taking advantage of anti-Covid vaccination? Especially since people who are clever enough to invent such fake news must know of the horrible pain that COVID-19 subjects people to before it finally subjects them to a horrifying death?

What makes the anti-Covid vaccination story doubly sad is that its seeds are, unfortunately, sown on the pre-fertilized ground – so to speak. You see, in the past, some wicked scientists in the developed countries have allowed themselves to be used by their [usually racist] governments to administer harmful vaccines and other medications to healthy, but medically uneducated people, by employing the lie that such interventions would save them from certain awful diseases. One of the most devastating of such deceptions occurred in the United States in 1932. Below is the horrible story as told on the OFFICIAL website of the US CENTRES FOR DISEASE CONTROL [CDC]: https://www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/timeline.htm



In 1932, the USPHS, [US Public Health Service] working with the Tuskegee Institute, began a study to record the natural history of syphilis. It was originally called the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” (sic) [now referred to as the “USPHS Syphilis Study at Tuskegee”].

The study initially involved 600 Black men – 399 with syphilis, 201 who did not have the disease. Participants’ informed consent was not collected. Researchers told the men they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term used to describe several ailments, including syphilis, anemia, and fatigue. In exchange for taking part in the study, the men received free medical exams, free meals, and burial insurance (sic)!

By 1943, penicillin was the treatment of choice for syphilis and became widely available, but the participants in the study were not offered treatment.

In 1972, an Associated Press story about the study was published. As a result, the US Assistant Secretary for Health and Scientific Affairs appointed an Ad Hoc Advisory Panel to review the study. The advisory panel concluded that the study was “ethically unjustified”; that is, the “results [were] disproportionately meager, compared with known risks to [the] human subjects involved.”

In March 1973, the panel advised the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to instruct the USPHS to provide all necessary medical care for the survivors of the study. [A]Tuskegee Health Benefit Programme was [therefore] established to provide these services and in 1975, participants’ wives, widows, and children were added to the program.

In 1995, the program was expanded to include health, as well as medical, benefits. The last study participant died in January 2004. The last widow receiving THBP benefits died in January 2009. ...

In I973, a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the study participants and their families, resulting in a $10 million, out-of-court settlement in 1974. On May 16, 1997, President Bill Clinton issued a formal Presidential Apology [over the study.] UNQUOTE

In Ghana, the fake news that the anti-Covid vaccine would make people “vote for the NPP” has convinced people who fear “strange injections” proposed by “unknown people in authority” that the “fake news cannot be ignored!” Indeed, fake news has already begun to cause serious disagreements in some households. A family I know has had to dispense with its house-help because she obstinately refused to take the jab.

To illustrate the way the political message contained in the fake news has been given local validity, I offer a version of the last conversation between the head of the household and the house-help:

BOSS: Ei, Amma! You are very lucky oh! Instead of you having to go around to look for the vaccinators, they are coming to our estate!

HOUSE-HELP: They are coming here?

B: Yes!

H: But Boss, I told you that my brother took the jab and had to be admitted into the hospital.

B: You said so! But are you absolutely sure it was the vaccine that made him ill? Even if it is true, it doesn't mean that you too will become ill if you get the job. You see, it affects different people in different ways. Look, as you know, I have had all my own jabs and I have never been ill – as you know!

H: But Boss, okay: if you have taken all your jabs, then you are PROTECTED, are you not?

B: Yes, I am.

H: In that case, even if I become infected because I have not taken the jab, I cannot transmit the disease to you and YOU will be all right?

B: I can't say that! Because, as I have explained to you, the pandemic can affect different people in different ways. Anyway, suppose someone comes to visit me who has not taken the jab and hasn't revealed that fact to me? You can transmit the disease to that person.

H: Then the jab is useless?

B: Listen, I am sorry but I can't take any risks with such a dangerous disease, just to please you! I have to do my best to avoid it at all costs, though I may not be successful in doing that. So, either you take the jab or you leave, I am sorry. I cannot allow you to expose other people to the risk of catching Covid.

As I reported earlier, the House-help chose to leave. Both her Boss and I are convinced that it wasn't mere logic that made her decide not to take the jab. She was probably under the strong influence of a church/cult. Or worse – unshakeable political propaganda!

Columnist: Cameron Duodu
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