Healthcare Board Urges Nigerians to Ignore COVID-19 Vaccine Myths, Misinformation

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Healthcare Board Urges Nigerians to Ignore COVID-19 Vaccine Myths, Misinformation

The Federal Capital Territory Primary Health Care Board has urged Nigerians to disregard the myths and misinformation surrounding the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mr. Francis Okonkwo, of the board, stated this while delivering a lecture at a one-day media orientation workshop on the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign.

He noted that all the myths making the round on the COVID-19 vaccine were false, noting that they were aimed at discouraging people from taking the vaccines.

The workshop was organised by the board in collaboration with Breakthrough Action Nigeria to seek media partnership in driving the campaign to encourage Nigerians to get vaccinated.

Okonkwo, who spoke on the role of the media in the implementation of the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign inaugurated on November 18 in the FCT encouraged Nigerians to get vaccinated, saying the vaccine does not change the DNA of individuals as being speculated.

“The news making round that the messenger RNA technology used in making COVID-19 vaccine is new is not true, and the claims that the vaccine contains controversial substance are all falsehood.

“The news that the COVID-19 vaccine magnetises substances at the point where it was taking on the body is just a myth,” he said.

He, however, admitted that the vaccine could react differently in the body of individuals owing to body response or the gene substance, which he said was not the same for every individual.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians who were yet to be vaccinated to disregard the myth surrounding the vaccine and take the vaccines.

He also called on the media to help propagate the campaign about the vaccine, adding that the media were the gatekeepers who had the power to change the narratives about all the myths.

According to him, the COVID-19 vaccine does not hurt, they are safe and efficacious.

He called for action to manage the infodemic, adding that the infodemic challenge was the main issue surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Head of Advocacy, Communication and Mobilisation, FPHCB, Nana Yusuf, said that the board was targeting 1.5 million Nigerians to be vaccinated in the FCT before December 31.

She called on the media to assist the board by embarking on an aggressive campaign that would reach the nooks and crannies of the FCT and spur all adults from 18 years to get vaccinated.

The Deputy Director, Nursing Services, FPHCB, Mrs. Salome Tor, enumerated some of the challenges hindering health workers in carrying out their duties effectively as it relates to COVID-19 vaccination.

Tor, who was represented by Mrs. Adéyemí Margaret, FCT State Immunisation Officer flays vaccine hesitancy across all segments of people in the society including civil servants and health workers, noting that it is a major problem.

According to her, thousands of Nigerians have negative thinking about this vaccine, adding that there is a need to change the narrative.

Some of the challenges she also identified are poor programme funding, recruitment of ad hoc workers for the vaccination exercise, as well as poor internet services in checking for data.

Others are poor road network to some communities in the FCT, difficulties in accessing first dose vaccination data and insecurity in some parts of the community.

the Head, Media Unit, Breakthrough Action Nigeria, Mr. Eze Eze, pleaded with the media to use all the channels of the communication network to educate Nigerians to get vaccinated.

According to him, the media is now the hope of stakeholders that is being relied upon to help drive the campaign about the vaccine and make Nigerians get vaccinated. 

(NAN)

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