May round-up: pregnant women can take COVID-19 vaccine, Bawumia’s #fixthecountry claims fact-checked

The vaccination exercise against COVID-19 was rolled out in April with some specific groups of people considered to be the first to get inoculated due to their increased risk. Unfortunately, pregnant women were not considered among this privileged few due to concerns about its effect on expectant mothers and their unborn children among several nations across the globe. The fact-checking team explored to ascertain the facts about the supposed effect of the vaccines on pregnant women. The exploration ended with a publication of a report under the headline “Pregnant Women are safe to vaccinate, Research Reports say”.

The report highlighted that a scientific study found no side effects on women who were pregnant while taking the vaccine or became pregnant after taking the vaccine. This allayed the fears about the safety of the vaccine during pregnancy.

“The study concludes that data from this research showed that vaccinating a pregnant or a lactating mother performs a double function: protecting the mother and the yet-to-be delivered child or newborn,” the report indicated.

As the second phase of the inoculation exercise elapsed due to the unavailability of the AstraZeneca vaccines, the conversations across the airwaves centred on concerns on the implication of taking a second dose later than required. The Fact-Check Ghana deemed it necessary to produce an explainer titled “What happens when second dose of COVID-19 vaccine delays” to address the matter at hand.

The report indicated that after the first dose is taken, the waiting period before the second dose can range from 4 to 12 weeks. It also stated that there’s the need to take the same brand of vaccine as the second dose too. The report added that even if one has contracted the coronavirus after taking the first dose of the vaccine, one is better protected with the second dose.

“If you’ve had coronavirus, you have probably developed some natural immunity. But experts say there’s not much information about how long that immunity lasts. Having two doses of the vaccine is the best way to make sure you have long-lasting and effective protection against the virus,” the report quoted the British Health Foundation.

Still around issues with the second dose of the vaccine, a report titled “Experts debunk the viral claim that covid-19 vaccines contain magnets” was issued to tackle the confusion and fears about COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the report,  constituents of a vaccine have no metal or magnetic component in them hence improbable for a magnetic substance to be attracted to the site of the injection.

“There’s nothing there that a magnet can interact with, it’s protein and lipids, salts, water, and chemicals that maintain the pH. That’s basically it, so this is not possible,” Fact-Check Ghana quoted a vaccine researcher and professor of cell and developmental biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr Thomas Hope.

Still on COVID-19, Fact-Check Ghana explored whether two doses of a vaccine can provide immunity for an immunocompromised person. The report detailed the challenges people with a compromised immune system face even after a full vaccination therefore the need to strictly adhere to safety protocols.

On the politics front, His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo’s comments in a CNN interview regarding what his government is doing to tackle corruption was fact-checked and found to be inaccurate. According to the President, Ghana’s CPI had improved under his watch, Fact-Check Ghana sourced data from transparency international which showed from 2017 -2020, Ghana’s ranking hovered around 75 and 81 which is worse than the previous four years ranking hence making the claim made by the first gentleman of the land false.

Still on politics, His Excellency Dr Mahamudu Bawumia made claims in response to issues the #fixthecountry movement made about socio-economic problems in Ghana needing fixing. Fact Check Ghana’s team put these responses to the litmus test and found complete falsehoods and some misleading information.

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