By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
Masvingo – Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy has remained a problem among citizens despite assurances of its efficacy and safety from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and government.
In separate interviews with Bustop TV News in the Masvingo province, citizens blamed this on the lack of awareness by relevant authorities on the inoculation process.
There have been a lot of conspiracies and myths surrounding the vaccines and not enough has been done to dispel these.
Jabulani Nkosazana (24) said, “The government made a mistake from the start, they should have educated us about the vaccine way before the coming of the vaccine, there was little time to educate the people and this is the reason why people are hesitant. From the start, when the issue of the vaccination started, social media ad already brainwashed people to the extent that people had to believe the social media over the health experts.
“The government has to scale up raising awareness and the masses will comply because without this, there will be more resistance from the people”.
One, Pride Gumbo added that the medium used by the relevant officials to disseminate information led to a few people getting it.
“Not everyone has the access to the televised information, and online platforms being used, not everyone has access to zoom meetings that are also being used to disseminate information. The government should use other means for information dissemination which includes everyone as this will lead to the education of the people regarding the vaccine. There are platforms like in buses, clinics, schools etc that can be used.
The important information is not being shared with the ordinary Zimbabweans, there is still a gap on information hence people are not well informed hence this has led to the mistrust between the government and the people about the vaccine,” Gumbo said.
In Zimbabwe people have turned to traditional remedies like zumbani to fight the virus.
However, Dr Agnes Mahomva who is the Chief Coordinator of the National Response to the Covid -19 pandemic in the office of the President and Cabinet said the government will never encourage vaccination if it was harmful.
“There is need for us to vaccinate everyone but we are not forcing people, it should be voluntary that is why people should have the knowledge about the vaccine. The government is doing all they can to protect us against the virus, they will never do anything to harm its citizens through the vaccine, the vaccine is effective. We have the medicine control authority which scrutinizes and advises every medicine that comes in the country, so no one is at risk, we are protecting our people. We carry out monitoring and evaluation and carry out surveillance to check if there are no side effects after one gets vaccinated.
The Regulatory Framework we have proves that the vaccine is not life threatening. People should use approved vaccines, science based vaccines,” Mahomva said.
Mahomva advised people to get vaccinated against the corona virus so the country can achieve herd immunity against Covid-19.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, last week it was reported that an average of about 17,778 doses had been administered each day.