Amidst concerns of hesitance towards recieving the Covid-19 vaccine, two thirds of respondents in a poll across Africa have expressed willingness to receive the vaccine.
However, the Africa center for disease control in a statement after a webinar hosted by the African Centre for Diseases Control, public strategy firm, Gatefield, and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator, to engage journalists on the issue of COVID-19 vaccines safety, effectiveness, and distribution said the sentiment has varied across the continent.
According to its report, In the 19 member countries surveyed, 91% of the people surveyed in Morocco were most interested in receiving the vaccines while Tunisia and Cameroon had the lowest number of people, at 35%. The report disclosed levels of acceptability in other countries as follows; South Africa (61%), Zimbabwe (61%), Zambia (53%), Mozambique (75%), Egypt (78%), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (52%).
It attributed the findings to a report released by the Partnership for Evidence- Based Response to Covid-19 (PERC) Consortium. The consortium is made up of public health organizations such as the Africa Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention; Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies; the World Health Organization; the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team; the World Economic Forum and private sector firms such as market research company, Ipsos.
The center further explained that the new briefs (part of the third series of data collection and analysis from PERC) combine results from phone surveys on the impact of public health and social measures (PHSMs) with information on epidemiological trends, media monitoring, and data on population mobility.
Speaking at the webinar, Dr Emmanuel Agogo, the Nigeria Country Representative of Resolve to Save Lives outlined the reasons for vaccine hesitancy identified in the research.
He also urged the media to take responsibility for enlightening audiences.
“Journalists can inform and increase public confidence in vaccines,” Agogo said.
He further encouraged journalists not to be sensational in reporting on vaccines since many myths are perpetuated,they should instead distribute reliable and accurate information.
Agogo said:”Journalists should do research,check the facts and use trusted sources of information.”
In the presentation, the Africa CDC recommended that African countries should continue the rollout of the vaccine.
Dr. Ouma presented that the African Taskforce for Coronavirus (AFTCOR) had determined based on evidence, that the benefits of the vaccines outweigh its risks.
At the webinar, an expert panel of journalists including Hopewell Chin’ono, an award winning investigative journalist from Zimbabwe; Dr. Laz Ude Eze, AIT television host; Tanya Farber, senior science reporter, Sunday Times; Vuyo Mkize, health writer, City Press; and Elizabeth Merab, health and science journalist, Nation Media Group, shared their experiences covering vaccines at the event and advocated for more responsible reporting on the subject.