By PETER WARI
THE vaccination programme for frontline health workers in Hela started on Monday but, as of Wednesday, only about 80 have accepted the vaccine, Hela health authority coordinator Rocky Wakinda says.
“We are facing a huge challenge to have our bewildered workers accept the coronavirus (Covid-19) AstraZeneca vaccines,” he said.
“The acceptance is thwarted by viral misinformation on social media.”
Wakinda said although the vaccine may represent a solution, fake news about the recently introduced AstraZeneca vaccines impaired infertility and causes other side effects had incited a wave of doubt resulting in people’s ignorance toward getting vaccinated.
“The health authority received 1,300 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the vaccination rollout started on Monday, however, to date, about 80 health workers have been vaccinated, ” he said.
“This is a serious issue and we have conducted a provincial advocacy meeting to address the vaccine hesitancy headed by chief executive officer Dr James Kintwa.
“We conducted the meeting in Tari-Pori and Koroba-Kopiago, and will move to Komo-Margarima last weekend.
“Though health workers are in the health facilities, they hide or are reluctant when it is time for them to receive the doses.”
Wakinda said people had been influenced by misinformation spread on social media and “we are doing our best to organise meetings and to have them vaccinated”.
“If the health workers are fearing the vaccines, other public servants are likely to respond the same,” he said.
“The biggest challenge will be on the illiterate populace.”
Wakindi said before the vaccine rollout programme, “we informed health workers that it was urgent that those aged 40 and above be vaccinated as they are vulnerable”.
“Health is everyone’s business.”
By PETER WARI