As the World continue the battle to contain the spread of the COVID-19, build immunity among the people, demystify myths and misconception about the COVID-19 Vaccines, Dr. Daniel Meshak a Lecturer/Consultant Family Physician and Public Health Expert with the University of Jos/Jos University Teaching Hospital has has described as false, misleading and mischievous the information being circulated that COVID-19 Vaccines are unsafe, capable distorting the human system, causes stunted growth and infertility.
Dr. Daniel Meshak, a former Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Plateau State Chapter disclosed that the myths being peddled in the social media have no scientific basis, they are without proof and not based on fact.
The Health Expert decried how people who have no idea about vaccine production and the workings of science sit at the comfort of their homes and publish misleading information which are doctored to suit their propaganda against the COVID-19 pandemic as well the Vaccines.
He stressed that the response to COVID-19 is being affected by the myths and misconceptions despite the fact that the production and adminstration of all COVID-19 Vaccines didn’t at any point compromised public safety.
“These myths and misconception potents great challenge to public Health Experts because as they are confronting the pandemic they are battling to allow science and evidence guide the decisions they make concerning this response”
“We are in an era of infodemic where a lot of false information and false myths and misconceptions going about at the same time which is creating a huge challenge” he stressed.
The Public Health Expert made these disclosures while speaking as a Guest on a COVID-19 Vaccine Public Awareness Programme with the topic “address myths and misconception about COVID-19” sponsored by McArthur Foundation and Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) on KT 103.9 FM Jos, Plateau State.
He disclosed that the reason for the emphasis on vaccines is because the goal of public Health Practitioners toward the response is to ensure that people acquire immunity against COVID-19 and at the population level the goal is to attain health immunity.
According to him, the calculation for the COVID-19 health immunity was done and found to be around 70% meaning if 70% of the population has acquired immunity for COVID-19 then the remaining 30% population without immunity are protected.
Dr. Daniel hinted that there is no one single factor that can be attributed to the myths and misconceptions about the COVID-19 Vaccines
He said there are a lot of factors that made the COVID-19 vaccine production not prolonged considering the global collaboration among Countries and Scientists across the World as well as the technological advancement especially modern equipment. In China for instance, within a Week, Scientists were able to sequence the virus, comprehend the component, how it is structured and how the amino acids are structured. He said China was able to achieve the feat within a short time and sent same to other Scientists across the World on account of the technology for vaccines especially the messenger RNA technology.
He said the technology (which is faster than what was obtainable in the past) has been in use for other viruses in the past for example the Zika Virus.
He said all COVID-19 Vaccines being administered presently have undergone regulations and various phases of clinical trials globally and have been certified to be safe and efficacious without effective monitoring on safety and adverse reactions still ongoing as the vaccines are being administered. He hinted that none of the processes was bypassed and the World Health Organization (WHO) and regulatory agencies in Countries are there to ensure that “safety is not compromised” and wondered why Nations will want to endanger the lives of their citizens if the vaccines are harmful.
He said the rumour that the vaccine causes Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) is untrue as the World Health Organization (WHO) and renowned Scientists investigated that allegation and found it to be false.
“Sometimes, people already have some of these background health problems and will not attribute the condition to the vaccines; there is no basis to link the vaccines to such condition” he posited.
He said there is less hospitalization and death of people who are vaccinated against the virus compared to those not vaccinated.
“Getting vaccinated is far more beneficial than not being vaccinated at all” he opined.
He further stressed that the risk of side effect is inevitable in almost all vaccines in some people saying usually most of the side effects such as fever, muscle pains, headache, fatigue, pain at the side of the injection are the common ones that disappears within two to three days.
“It is normal to have the side effect as it shows that the vaccine is working well”
“The vaccines are made from Natural products and are very safe, you can imagine people saying the vaccine that is in liquid form contains microchip in it; it is unfounded and not true” the health Expert disclosed.
He went further to state that another factor responsible for the myths and misconceptions is “trust deficit” between the government and the people which is a global phenomenon. He said Countries with more population not trusting the government are found not to be accepting the vaccines.
“Probably, People are associating their distrust to government and politicians because of lack of accountability and transparency and have linked same to the COVID-19 Vaccine, that is a problem in itself. Whether you like it or not, you can remove the influence of politics to the response to COVID-19” Dr. Daniel said.
He urged the public to get vaccinated in order to prevent themselves from the virus, be protected and protect others as well as ensure they always verify the information they come across especially on the social media, this is because people doctor videos, audios and other information materials to make them look authentic in order to mislead the public.
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