The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said contracting the Omicron variant of the COVID-19, which is milder, can lead to reinfections with dire complications.
The complications include damage to the brain and internal organs, such as the pancreas, the heart and the lungs.
It has, therefore, advised the public to continue to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 safety protocol to avoid contracting the disease or getting reinfected.
“People, particularly the vaccinated, should not take the safety protocol for granted just because they are not at risk of death or severe sickness because the implications of post-COVID-19 complications are dire,” the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said in an interview in Accra.
He said due to the novel nature of the disease, the vaccines, although very critical in breaking transmission and reducing vulnerability, did not prevent patrons from getting infected by the disease.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye reminded the public to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap under clean running water, sanitise the hands frequently with at least 70 per cent alcohol-based hand sanitiser intermittently, wear face masks, observe at least two-metre social distancing rule, clean work and touch surfaces frequently and get vaccinated.
“COVID-19 may leave scars in the lungs, making people affected unable to breathe normally as they did before”, he said, adding that some post-COVID-19 complications could last for months, while others were irreversible.
Vaccines helpful, protocol necessary
In a separate interview, a renowned Ghanaian scientist, Emerita Professor Isabella Akyinbah Quakyi, also urged the public not to abandon the protocol after vaccination, saying: “Until there is full understanding of the virus, we should hold dear the safety protocol.”
In her view, the virus remained a changing organism that scientists continued to study to understand adequately.
Prof. Quakyi, a Professor of Immunology and Parasitology, health researcher and public health practitioner, said vaccines were most helpful at this stage and so people should take advantage of them as a complementary measure to the safety protocol.
“Even though it is capital intensive, the state must invest in further research locally into critical pointer issues, such as how long immunity lasts, issues of reinfections, how vaccines will perform in vulnerable groups, among others, to inform pragmatic policy decisions locally.
“Until then, we must strictly adhere to the protocol, even after taking the vaccines,” she said.
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