The President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Frank Serebour, has said contrary to the claim by some Ghanaian anti-COVID-19 vaccine doctors, who claim the jabs against the pandemic are to blame for the continuous spread and mutation of the virus, “I believe that the vaccines are good, they are effective, they have prevented a lot of deaths and, so, we need to continue to vaccinate and not look at some small aspect of it”.
Dr Serebour told Valentina Ofori-Afriyie on Class91.3FM’s mid-day news 12Live on Wednesday, 12 January 2022 in an interview: “The Ghana Medical Association has always been clear; we have said on several occasions that we encourage Ghanaians to go out there and take their vaccines and we have also encouraged the government to ensure that they procure enough vaccines so that every Ghanaian can have his or her vaccination and that position hasn’t changed”.
The Concerned Doctors of Ghana, as the group of anti-vaccine medical practitioners calls itself, is requesting that all forms of COVID-19 vaccine mandates across the country be rescinded with immediate effect.
The doctors say they disagree with the government’s strategy of banking all hopes on these vaccines and directly or indirectly coercing Ghanaians to go for inoculations against this novel coronavirus disease, which scientists are still learning about.
The doctors noted that being a novel virus, many of these measures, protocols and tactics have been, at best, educated guesses at fighting a virus that is still being studied.
The doctors, in a letter addressed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, further said “during the early days of the pandemic, the general sentiment was to hold on for a vaccine to come and save the day”.
“We were told that these vaccines were our only way out of this pandemic, providing immunity against infection, preventing severe/critical disease hospitalisations and death. Over time, however, all these have been shown to be false assertions.”
According to the medical practitioners, the vaccines do not prevent infections or spread.
“Recent studies show that the vaccinated are becoming more relevant in the spread of COVID-19. Many studies show outbreaks within fully-vaccinated populations. Other studies show vaccinated populations as sources for outbreaks,” the letter stated.
The doctors reiterated that over the last few months of 2021, the assertion that these COVID vaccines reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death has been shown to be inaccurate as well.
Backing their words with evidence, they said “in the state of Vermont, USA, it has been shown that 79% of deaths in September 2021 were among fully vaccinated individuals”.
“Over the month of September last year in the UK, approximately 79% of deaths were among fully vaccinated individuals as well. There are even schools of thought that theorise that the vaccinated are the main drivers of the pandemic.”
The doctors said many of the highly-vaccinated countries like Israel and UK are experiencing rising cases while other studies show that higher vaccination rates do not equal to less cases and less deaths.
They said Ghana may well be on its way to herd immunity, if not there already.
The doctors further stated that “per our cultural practices, it is not practical to expect Ghanaians to do away with social physical contact,” adding: “Many Ghanaians have probably recovered from mild or asymptomatic disease and developed acquired immunity.”
The medical professionals also said a seroprevalence study in a lorry station in Accra yet to be published, showed about 70% of the samples collected had antibodies to COVID-19 probably after recovery from the virus.
They told President Akufo-Addo that per his dietary advice during the early days of the pandemic, many Ghanaians may have strengthened their immune systems after eating more of our local dishes and fruits which tend to be high in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients.
The concerned doctors said the treatment guidelines that the Ghana Health Service put together for the treatment of COVID-19 seem to have really been effective, enabling most of the peripheral hospitals to treat COVID-19 positive cases except those that may need ICU care.
They are suggesting that other cheap and safe treatment options like ivermectin, fluvoxamine and adjuncts like thiamine, methylprednisolone etc., should be looked into.
In addition to that, “further research into locally made remedies and treatments for COVID-19 should be at least be considered.”
As concerned doctors, they are advising the government to quit the rollout of these vaccines “whose risks, per the data and studies we have shown far outweigh any potential benefits.”
They said they cannot in good conscience stand by and watch the lives of innocent Ghanaians be gambled away, and their basic freedoms and rights of health abused.
In Dr Serebour’s reaction to them, however, he said: “We [GMA] still believe that the vaccines are good; they have helped reduce, at least, the severity of a lot of diseases and the evidence for supporting vaccination is available for everybody to see”.
He said: “As for data, if you take any data, what you want to do with it, you can do with it: you can look at it from a narrow or negative angle or the larger good of it”.
Dr Serebour insisted: “I believe that vaccines are something that has been available, has been with us for several years and even a century now. Same has always been the case of people who speak against vaccines and, so, it is nothing strange; we’ll have them, they may have concerns, we may have to sit, look at their concerns and address them; however, we’ll have these same issues coming up every now and then. I mean, it is nothing strange to find doctors, even professors who would speak against vaccines…”
Personally, he said: “My position is that the vaccines work, we have to encourage Ghanaians to take it or we have to encourage the government to make it available so that we can all develop some kind of herd immunity and that is what we should be doing”.
Tackling his colleagues head-on, Dr Serebour pointed out: “If you look at their statement, they claim that it is the vaccines that have rather fuelled the production of new variants but I believe that the opposite is rather true because if we all develop herd immunity, that would mean that the virus would not go round again and then they would not have the ability to mutate”.
As far as mutations go, he said “they would occur but the basics of the vaccine will not change because the vaccine actually looks at how the virus is able to even get itself attached to the human body and, so, that is where the vaccine is targeted. And, so, the virus can mutate; however, the efficacy of the vaccines would still be enough”.