Theresa Tafida, Fantsuam Foundation. 08th April, 2022
The advent of Corona virus came in with varying degrees of challenges, amongst which is finding a cure or at least preventive measures. Then came preventive measures such as wearing of face masks, social distancing, hand washing and finally a vaccine; the Covid-19 vaccine. There were a range of reasons for hesitancy or refusal of the vaccines, including from conspiracy theories, denials, fake news which have continued to claim lives.
Fantsuam Foundation with funding/support from McArthur Foundation and Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) is implementing a project geared toward provision of education and sensitisation on the Corona virus as well as correct misinformation about the covid-19 vaccine. The project goal at the end is to achieve an increase in the vaccine uptake.
Field work has recorded the following as some of the reasons for people’s refusal/ hesitancy to receive the vaccine • Stories of adverse effects (collapse, sickness, paralysis, death) of the vaccine on those who received it especially disseminated through social media• Denial and lack of trust in information provided because some said they have never seen a case of the disease• Conspiracy theories includeo Accusation of Western plot to cut down Africa and Nigeria’spopulation o Vaccine causes sterilityo Vaccines are fakeo Social media hypes discourage uptakeso Refusal of some health workers to take the vaccine• People who got left out of the Covid-19 palliative distribution, refuse to take the vaccine • Non-availability of vaccines in some vaccination sites• Traditional leaders didn’t inform their communities about the importance of the vaccine• Some locations are hard to reach
Continuous advocacy to key stakeholders as traditional and religiousleaders, people with Disability (PWDs) among others, community sensitization, awareness and education is addressing these barriers in the Jema’a communities and there has been increase in uptake of the vaccines. This is evidenced by the turn outs recorded during the mobile vaccination sites organised by Fantsuam Foundation in the month of march, 2022
Responses from our radio programme also showed people expressing interest in knowing more about the virus as well as the vaccine with some hard-to-reach communities calling on the organisation to come to their aid. As the project progresses, there are indications that more and more people will be willing to uptake the vaccine. However, a major challenge that must be addressed by governments is that of vaccine availability and distribution especially to hard-to-reach communities and other vulnerable people like the aged and PWDs who may be limited by mobility