The FCT Primary Health Care Board (FPHCB) has urged Nigerians to disregard the myths surrounding the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Mr. Francis Okonkwo, Health Education Officer of the board made the call while delivering a lecture at a one-day media orientation workshop on the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign.
He noted that all the myths on the COVID-19 vaccine were falsehood aimed at discouraging people from taking the jab.
The orientation organized by the healthcare board in collaboration with Breakthrough Action Nigeria was to seek the media partnership in driving the campaign for 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 Nov. 18, in the FCT, encouraged Nigerians to get vaccinated, saying the vaccine does not change the DNA of individual as being speculated.
“The news making round that the messenger RNA technology used in making COVID-19 vaccine is new is not true, and that the vaccine was developed and contains controversial substance are all falsehood.
“The news that the COVID-19 vaccine magnetizes 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 go ahead to take the jabs.
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 infodemic was the issue surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, which some were correct while some were not.
Hajia Nana Yusuf, Head of Advocacy, Communication and Mobilisation, FPHCB, said that the board was targeting 1.5 million Nigerians for vaccination in the FCT before Dec. 31.
She called on the media to assist the board by embarking on an aggressive campaign that would reach the nooks and crannies of FCT and spur all adults from 18 years to get vaccinated.
Mrs Salome Tor, Deputy Director Nursing Services, FPHCB, enumerated some of the challenges hindering health workers in carrying out effectively COVID-19 vaccination.
Tor, who was represented by Mrs Adéyemí Margaret, FCT State Immunisation Officer (SIO) identified various shades of hesitancy across all segments of people including civil servants and health workers as the number one problem.
According to her, thousands of Nigerians have negative thinking about this vaccine, and that there is a need to change the narrative.
Some of the challenges, she said, are poor program funding, recruitment of ad hoc workers for the vaccination with urgent training, as well as poor internet services in checking for data.
Others are poor road network to some communities in FCT, difficulties in accessing first dose vaccination data and insecurity in some parts of the community.
Mr. Eze Eze, Head, Media Unit, Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BAN), pleaded with the media to use all the channels of the communication network by making all Nigerians 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)