Stakeholders, Clergy worried with vaccine misinformation

Stakeholders, Clergy worried with vaccine misinformation

The Diocese of Chikwawa through its Social Services Directorate has deplored a drop in the number of people seeking medical attention in both public and mission hospitals in Nsanje and Chikwawa; a development which has been attributed to Covid-19 Vaccine misinformation.

Diocesan Covid-19 task force

Speaking on the side-lines of an engagement with a special Diocesan Covid-19 task Force, Diocesan Health Coordinator, Davie Chimwaza, stated that many people are now shunning hospitals fearing of being covertly injected with the Covid-19 jab.

He has since described this as a thorny and dangerous situation.

“There is a sharp decrease in the number of persons admitted in our hospitals. We gather the same applies to government hospitals. This is a cause for worry. Already, we have had reports of people dying; but could probably have been served if they received quick and proper medical attention”

He further expressed concern over the prevailing tendency of, in turn, buying drugs, antibiotics in particular, from Pharmacies without proper medical check-up and advice.

“Some, instead of going to the hospital, are opting for pharmacies and some unlicensed medical selling points. The uptake of drugs without medical expertise and advice is highly recipe for Chronic diseases”

Chimwaza warned.

The Diocesan Covid-19 Task force comprises of various key players in the health sector within the diocese. They, through the meeting, settled for massive sensitization to alert the public that Covid-19 Vaccination is completely on voluntary basis. They also want to utilise existing Hospital social welfare committees in their approach.

In a separate engagement with the clergy earlier the same day, there were revelations that school attendances have equally been disrupted owing to the same fears. The religious leaders who had gathered deplored the sad reality and called on all stakeholders to pull resources together and coordinate in order to avert the situation.

The clergy also highlighted various misconceptions about the vaccine that have had a bearing on its uptake levels. These include a wide misinformation that people advocating for vaccination are those that have been bought at a good price; and also the public perception that vaccines are basically for young children.

The Clergy

Even more worrisome were revelations that key stakeholders like chiefs are ones fuelling the misinformation. The Clergy have hence called for a bottom up approach in the Vaccine Advocacy and on their part pledged to intensify pulpit sensitization.

Father Semba is Parish Priest at Nchalo Parish and Director of Social Services in the Diocese.

“We would love to see those who have been injected with the vaccine driving the advocacy at community level, calling their cronies to go for the vaccination. It’s time we opt for a different approach. On our part, we will continue to encourage our followers to ignore these misconceptions and myths and go for vaccination”

Fr. Semba promised

The two engagements were organised by the Catholic Health Commission to review Covid-19 fight strategies; in order to learn from past approaches and plan for future interventions.