Social media has been identified as a platform that promotes COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and apathy through unfounded negative insinuations against the efficacious nature of the vaccines.
The assertion was made by the Executive Chairman of Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BASPHCDA), Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, while briefing journalists on the uptake of the vaccination in Bauchi.
A visibly disturbed Mohammed said that a high number of people in “the community, the medical and the university community, the professors and others reject the vaccine. One of the things that are fueling the trouble is social media. It is a stumbling block to achieving the aim of the vaccination.”
He also said that “this is not new to us, we faced similar problems during the polio campaign from people we tagged ‘the evildoers of vaccination’, they are there everywhere. In fact, I was attacked twice, but we endured it and today, we are polio-free as we were able to kick polio out of the country.
“These vaccines were approved for emergency use – about 35 different types of them by the World Health Organization (WHO). Each country is free to produce its own but they have to look at the safety and efficiency because initially, so many people came up with their theories and there are obstacles that they want to block these vaccines.”
According to him, “their major campaign is that the vaccine is for reducing fertility in order to reduce population. The second one is that there is a fear that these vaccines will even kill a person within two years. The third one is the demonstration of placing metal at the point of the vaccination in order to scare people.”
Mohammed added that “the main thing causing our own problems is some of the reactions of the vaccines most especially, mild reactions forgetting that each drug has its reaction because of the composition of the body, there is an antigen, antibody reaction, mild weakness, mild fever when one takes a chemical like this. There is fighting between the immunity and the body itself to take care of the person.”
He however assured that the vaccine is efficient and effective and can be used to protect a person from the COVID-19 infection, urging people to make themselves available for the vaccination which he said is ongoing across the state while saying, however, that “the vaccines will not be administered to those who are sick, it is only for those who are healthy”.
He disclosed that an NGO, Breakthrough Nigeria has come to support the state in ensuring that the vaccination exercise succeeded, saying that committees have been constituted to tackle all the rumours that are militating against the uptake.