There are lot of uninterrupted misinformation spreading wild on the social media platforms in Africa about Covid 19 vaccine and vaccinations and mainly from religious leaders given how religious than scientific Africans could be.
For instance Kenya has ordered 24 million doses of the Covid 19 vaccines developed by AstraZenca and is expected arriving in the 2nd week of February 2021. Media report also have that Nigeria has ordered 10 million vaccine doses and Zambia announced initial allocation of 8.7 million vaccine doses.
Disturbing as grassroot social change mobilizer is seeing and reading misinformation on social media like What’sapp etc about the vaccine with the aim of influencing the public to reject the shots, which to me can halt the spread of the global pandemic.
The false messages includes-
Dissemination of instruction to forward to friends and family members that Covid 19 vaccines is mark of anti christ. That’s not true. In fact, vaccination is a simple, safe and efficient way to protect people against harmful diseases, before they come into contact with them according to WHO. Vaccines use your body’s natural defense to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger.
I have heard, listen, read and seen on social media altered pictures that shows a medicine label with word " NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION IN USA, CANADA or EU Countries". Twisted to claim that there are separate vaccines of Covid 19 for developed countries. But that’s not true. The vaccines are same for all and is not meant to kill Africans.
I have also seen massages spreading online that Covid 19 vaccine contains chemicals, heavy metals that will negatively affect physical and mental health condition in medium and long terms, even causing genetic effect like down syndrome etc. But all are speculation, unsubstantiated and not true.
But what’s true to my mind in all this is in the existence of widening inequality gap among the rich and poorer poor countries this pandemic have exposed. That if life was a thing that money could buy, the rich will live and the poor will die. On my mind again is how this inequality gap only allows rich countries that can afford the vaccines, are the ones getting the supplies more and more now, while others wait for an unknown while of time for the vaccines.
However, be that as it may be, I am begining a social media campaign to disrupt and explain to my followers the need for vaccination as means of disease control so as to increase the likelihood of vaccine uptake on targeted population whenever soon the vaccine finally arrived Africa. That’s the role I must play in debunking the myths about Covid 19 vaccination among Africans in Africa through the use of the social media platforms.