From Andy Esiet, Calabar
The United Nation Children Fund (UNICE) and medical experts in Nigeria have reaffirmed the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines saying people should take the jab as a shot in the arm saves lives.
Speaking at a “Child Rights Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF on Media Dialogue on Demand Creation for COVID-19 Vaccines“ in Enugu on September 29, the experts said the vaccines are safe and everyone should partner to end the pandemic.
In his opening remarks, the Specialist and Officer in Charge of UNICEF Enugu Field, Dr. Olufemi Adeyemi said despite effort by UNICEF, the Federal government and partners to ensure the spread of the pandemic is brought under control, “we still face serious challenges in the areas of public’s hesitancy, unwillingness and conspiracies against the COVID-19 vaccines, making efforts of government, partners and donors un-reciprocated”.
He gave the assurance that “UNICEF and partners will continue to respond to the four COVID-19 response pillars adopted by Nigerian government in line with NCDC’s guidelines by emphasizing the imperative role of the mass media in today’s fight against COVID-19 with huge reliance on that fact through levels of concerted collaboration outlets for reinforcement of massages on equal access to healthcare, ending discrimination and social stigmatisation by providing daily update to public on ways to combat the pandemic and remain safe”.
Presenting paper on “Debunking Rumours and Conspiracy Against COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccination”, Dr Obasi Chikezie of Community Medicine Department, Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT) Teaching Hospital, said the treatment of COVID-19 is expensive but “vaccination has offered cheaper access to managing the treatment of COVID-19…and no country in the world is safe until all countries get it”.
He debunked some myths like a person will die in two years after taking the vaccine, it has a magnetic metal, it leads to convulsion, it ignites electric bulbs, changes DNA, will cause infertility leading to depopulation and few others saying, all these are fake news or assumptions by bloggers to generate traffic to their site and activities of some pharmaceutical for their self gain.
In an example to prove wrong one of the myths Chikezie tested a bulb that carries battery on the body of six people that have not been vaccinated and the bulb lit, so he said a bulb with a battery inside can light on somebody’s body whether the person is vaccinated or not because the body naturally generates little electron.
On his part Dr. Nwachukwu Ugwunna of the Community Medicine Department of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu said COVID-19 is real and “people 60 years of age and over and those with underlying medical ailments are at high risky…the vaccination is just a simple way one can go against the disease or reducing the risk of getting the disease as without vaccination we are at risk of serious sickness. The key reason to get the vaccinated is protect ourselves and those around us”.
He said, it is not vaccine that will stop the pandemic but the actual vaccination so everyone of age 18 up should take it starting from the weakest and the elderly because “vaccines are the shots we all need as a shot in the arm saves lives”
On the efficacy of the vaccines, Ugwunna said all the vaccines are good and effective as vaccines recognise invading germs such as virus or bacteria and it produces anti-bodies.
Generally the experts charged journalists to always use trusted and reliable sources, define terms and use clear language while reporting issues especially as it concerns COVID-19.