As the World continue to put in place measures to completely wipe out the COVID-19 pandemic which has adversely affected humanity, Public Health Professionals have called on the Citizens to embrace the COVID-19 Vaccines which they said are the best remedy to erasing the virus completely.
Sophia Osawe a Virologist, Program Manager and Research Manager Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), Dr. Rejoice Abimuku Ph.D a Doctor of Medical Microbiology & Research Coordinator Plateau State Human Virology Research Centre and Hammed Abdullahi Abidemi a Microbiologist and Research Coordinator Plateau State Human Virology Research Centre Jos dropped the hint during a COVID-19 Public Awareness Radio Programme put together by Cmr. Friday Bako sponsored by Centre for Information Technology And Development (CITAD)/MacArthur Foundation under its COVID-19 Vaccine Public Education Project on the topic “COVID-19 Awareness and Vaccine Hesitancy” on KT 103.9 FM Jos on Tuesday 28th June, 2022.
The Health Experts disclosed that the fight against COVID-19 is a collective effort which communities should key into citing misinformation, fake news and conspiracy theories as responsible for the level of hesitancy being witnessed. According to them, people are aware of the virus and the available vaccines which have been helping to prevent the spread of the virus globally, but misinformation and fake news have adversely affected the uptake of the vaccines. They charged the public to be cautious of the information they get from the social media saying that is not the best place to get credible information. They called for the verification of all information.
They hinted that the virus is still around and expressed displeasure on how people have not taken all the COVID-19 health protocols that were in place for granted.
They said a lot of efforts have been made by Health Experts globally to produce COVID-19 vaccines and there is need to appreciate such efforts geared towards overcoming the virus.
They also said the world is a global village and with people travelling around, contracting the virus may not be completely ruled out hence the need for vaccination in order for the people to be safer and not to go down with the virus or spread further to others.
They debunked the rumor that the Vaccines have long term effects on those who have been vaccinated saying that has not be scientifically proven as the mild reactions after taking the vaccine are normal in all vaccine uptake. They said the vaccines having undergone the various stages of clinical trials, adjudged to be safe and effective were approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency and full use without causing any harm. They urged the public to discard the distrust they have about the vaccine and ensure they are vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity against the virus.
“Being hesitant to COVID-19 is not going to help us, let us embrace it just as we embrace other vaccines in the past as children, people must take responsibility for their health and remain safe” Dr. Abimuku said.
“Vaccines have been existing for years, but one will wonder why people are scared of COVID-19 Vaccines even when we take our kids to take vaccines” Sophia said.
“The vaccine build your immunity and refusing to take the vaccine puts one in a very bad situation and makes one more vulnerable to the virus. It is important that we get information about COVID-19 and the vaccine should be gotten from health experts which are backed by evidence and not from the social media” Hammed hinted.
They all called for the dissemination of the right information to the people about COVID-19 and the vaccines. They said taking the vaccine provide more immunity to the body which in turn will fight the virus.
They called for investment in research especially clinical research to address the issue of health tourism where people have to travel outside the shores of the Nation to get medical attention for diseases that ordinarily can be handled in Nigeria if the right attention is given to the health sector.
They decried the low uptake of the vaccines in Africa despite the vaccination being given for free. They said below 10 percent of Nigeria’s population has been vaccinated against the COVID-19 which is making it impossible to achieve herd immunity which will prevent spread of the virus.
They said religious leaders have critical roles to play in encouraging their members to get vaccinated. They also urged Health Practitioners such as Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists and others to be involved in mass awareness campaign to increase the vaccine uptake.
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