-As NAPharm & NGE Commence One-Week Programme on COVID-19 Pandemic
Hesitancy surrounding COVID-19 vaccination has again received another big blow as executives of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) on Wednesday vehemently condemned healthcare practitioners spreading misinformation about the vaccine, describing them as dishonest and fraudulent fellows.
The NAPharm leaders, who expressed concerns for the less attention given to healthcare delivery in the country by the Federal Government, noted that Nigeria has not developed her local vaccines due to less priority given to healthcare issues, while this is not depicting a good picture of the health condition of the nation.
Addressing journalists in a press conference heralding a week-long programme on COVID-19 pandemic, jointly organised by NAPharm and the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), Vice-President, NAPharm, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, dispelled conspiracy theories on COVID-19 vaccines circulated by some so called scientists on social media, stating that they are false information spread by deceivers.
“Vaccines don’t kill people, vaccine save lives. Since vaccines are produced based on science, any scientist that has any new finding about the vaccine need to publish it in a scientific journal, not addressing people directly on social media on the discovery. Thus, those scientists speculating wrong information about vaccination are dishonest.
“The purpose of vaccine is to help us build immunity and whatever provides you immunity will help you fight the virus. People telling you counter story about vaccine are deceiving you, if they are telling you that vaccines will not provide immunity, it is sheer lies, they are not scientists, they are fraudulent people.If not let them tell you from medical science, what is the purpose of vaccines? By simple definition, vaccines are there to provide immunity against diseases.
“So please let us listen to the experts, let us not be deceived by people who are just out there to deceive people. As I have said earlier, they can still go quietly to take the jab without anyone knowing, so they are dishonest, don’t listen to them because they don’t love you”, he asserted.
On his own part, the President, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) Mr Mustapha Isah commended journalists for doing so well in their reportage of COVID-19 events, as unfounded information were prevented from the public. On the other hand, he blamed social media for all the erroneous news on COVID-19 saying it lacked gatekeepers to vet information before circulation.
He therefore charged citizens to be weary of their sources of information, stressing that any unclear information should be fact checked from relevant authorities before it is consumed hook, line and sinker.
Speaking in the same vein, Dr Lolu Ojo, director of programmes, said although so many things are yet to be known about the vaccines, but that is the only solution available for now, so he urged people to go for it as it is void of most speculated adverse effects.
“We are saying that vaccines are absolutely free of demerits linked to it, and people are free totake it, although it is not mandatory”, he stated.
He noted that the purpose of the conference, was to discuss the NAPharm/NGE programme, which will run from Monday, 12 April to Friday, 16 April 2021 with the press in Nigeria and leave the analysis of the subject to the various experts that have been invited.
Ojo observed the rapid changes brought by the pandemic to Nigeria, saying what used to be considered as normal or a way of life has now become an anathema that must be avoided at all cost. For instance, the usual expression of affection or comradeship like handshakes, hugging, visiting, etc, are things that must be avoided now. The grim statistics send fear across the globe. “As at 6th April, 2021, a world total of 132 million cases were reported, 74.7million recovered and a whopping 2.8 million people had lost their lives”, he noted.
He assured the audience of getting accurate information on everything that concerns COVID-19 from the Media Week, thereby urging them to make themselves available for the discourse which will take place virtually.
“As we set out to fight the pandemic with the right information, I want to call on Nigerians to participate in all the activities lined up for the week. We have the capacity to accommodate a minimum of 1000 participants on each day and any spill over can join via You-tube, Instagram or Facebook. This is an opportunity to ask questions from the people who should know. It is a unique opportunity to clear all the doubts”, he stressed.
Top among dignitaries that will grace the Media Week are Dr Osagie Ehanire, the honourable minister of health; Keynote Speaker, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, director general, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); Prof. Tonnie Iredia, the former CEO of the National Orientation Agency; Dr Reuben Abati; Dr Faisal Shuaibu, CEO, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency; Prof Isah Marte Hussaini, honourable commissioner for health, Borno State; Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria; Mr Tony Akiotu, group managing director of DAAR Communications, among others.