By Ismail Auwal
The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has identified misinformation as a barrier to vaccine uptake.
This was disclosed by the Coordinator, Public Education on COVID-19 Vaccine Project at CITAD, Hamza Ibrahim in a press conference.
The Center shared key barriers to the COVID-19 vaccination exercise identified in six states of project implementation at the press conference.
CITAD, with funding from the MacArthur Foundation, is implementing a “Public Education on COVID-19 Vaccine” campaign in six northern states: Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kogi, Kano, and Plateau.
“The project is aimed at creating awareness around COVID-19 vaccine with a view to getting acceptance and uptake of the vaccine by people,we worked with partners from different backgrounds and professions to enlighten people on the need to take the vaccine.”
“Having monitored COVID-19 vaccine administration in the six project states for the last two months, we are displeased to note that we have identified both general and specific issues hindering uptake of the vaccine thereby further risking the efforts at addressing the pandemic,” the statement reads.
“This we must say is unfortunate particularly at a time when new variants of the virus are emerging.”
According to him, CITAD has observed that misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine is still widespread, and that some state governments are aiding non-acceptance of the vaccine by not fully supporting the vaccination effort.
“The issue of requesting people to make payments to be vaccinated will not only hamper the vaccination exercise but make people to stay away from taking the vaccine, and this potentially renders more people insecure.
“Our observation also shows gaps in the coordination of vaccine distribution by agencies responsible within the healthcare chain.
“While in Borno state people going for second doses of Astrazeneca and Moderna were told that the vaccines are not available, in Plateau state 45,288 doses of Pfizer had to be recalled after distribution to local communities for nearing expiration. Again visits to some vaccination spots in Plateau indicate that unavailability of the vaccines”.
Ibrahim noted that a lack of proper coordination is causing a delay in accessing vaccine vaccination sites.
“The problems identified are no doubt hindrances to the COVID-19 vaccine uptake and if not addressed quickly will reinforce the misconception and fake news in circulation about the vaccine, and that will sabotage the efforts geared towards containing the virus and addressing the pandemic in general.”
CITAD urged state governors to take immediate action to address the identified issues.