April Round-Up: Immunity from COVID-19 Explained; Viral Claim on IMF Downgrade of Ghana Debunked

The onset of COVID-19 inoculation triggered conversation around immunity globally. It became necessary for an explainer from fact-checkers including Fact-Check Ghana and in April, under the headlines, “How Long Does Immunity Last in Protecting People from COVID-19?”, the team explored publications on the subject as part of its COVID-19 project.

The explainer detailed how long one can be protected by a vaccine after inoculation, indicating that across many of the vaccines approved for emergency use, experts agree six months is the minimum time one could be immune against the virus.

The report, however, added that it is likely vaccines will protect people longer the six months, following the experience with vaccination against flu.

“But that doesn’t mean that the vaccines are only good for six months. It’s likely that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and others like them, will provide immunity for longer than that, says infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. He bases his prediction on experience with the flu vaccine, which is good for at least a year,” the report indicated.

Also, given that Ghanaians are yet to receive their second jab after the first inoculation exercise in March and April which saw aver 740,000 vaccinated, Fact-Check Ghana explored the consequences of only receiving one jab of the vaccines or the repercussions of delaying in receiving a second jab.

In a report titled “What Happens if I Don’t Get the Second Dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine?”, Fact-Check Ghana noted:

“Data from AstraZeneca/Oxford show that a delayed booster actually enhances the antibody response,” Sander was quoted in Germany’s daily Die Welt report, adding that “this decision is informed from other studies, such as Ebola vaccines.”

David Topham, a microbiologist and immunologist at the University of Rochester in New York was reported as saying the delay should not be much of a concern. “It’s really not a problem, “he says.

The month of April also saw the commencement of the month of Ramadan by Muslims globally. Ramadan is a period where Muslims renew their covenant with Allah through fasting and prayers for either thirty days or thirty-one days according to the sect one belongs to.

“How Different Must I Observe the COVID-19 Protocols During Ramadan? Here’s What Experts Say”, Fact-check Ghana took experts positions on observing of protocols even as they congregate to offer prayers. The report can be found here

Still on Ramadan under COVID-19, the team researched on “Ramadan: Can I fast While Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms?”

We explored a study by the Oxford-based Center for Evidence-based Medicine which said there was no evidence to suggest the probability of adverse effect from fasting during the Covid-19 pandemic on asymptomatic healthy individuals who have previously fasted safely.

The findings also noted that “patients with fever and prolonged illness secondary to Covid-19 can become severely dehydrated and are at risk of sudden acute deterioration. Therefore, these patients should not fast (or cease fasting) and ensure adequate hydration”.

On politics and governance, news hit the Ghanaian media space that suggested that the country had been downgraded to a low-income country. This news was shared by many social media handles, notable among them being Isaac Adongo, the member of parliament (MP) of Bolgatanga Central, and Mensah Thompson, the Executive Director of Asepa Ghana.

In a fact-check report, “Misleading! Ghana has NOT been Downgraded to Low Income Country”, the team presented the real state of the country backed by credible information from the International Monetary Fund.

The monthly fact-checked round-ups are part of a project supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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