How We Tackled Strange Beliefs, Misinformation to Scale Up Uptake of COVID-19 Vaccines in Kogi – CPI

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Challenge Parenthood Initiative (CPI) says the current uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in Kogi state is low, when compared to the national average of 65%.

The Executive Director CPI, Eunice Abimbola Agbogun disclosed this on Tuesday in Lokoja at a press conference on enhancing demand creation and uptake of Covid-19 vaccine project in Kogi state executed by CPI in collaboration with Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD).

Agbogun said it took a lot of effort for vaccines uptake in Kogi state to improve to 646,623, representing 23.2 percent of the state’s population.

She stated that the low figure was due to myths and misconceptions that surrounded the vaccine and its effect.

“In the course of implementing activities of the project, we were crossed with strange beliefs, misinformed and adamant positions which were frantically tackled.

“Hiterto to this intervention, some individuals strongly and strictly believed that Covid-19 was a punishment released for the ill-doings of our leaders and hence has no effect on the common man who was going about his legitimate activity. Hence, the vaccination had nothing to do with them.

“Some set of persons had not heard of Covid-19 before and never knew if such was in existence talk less of invented vaccines as a check on the virus.

“Some had been brainwashed through social media that taking the vaccine could result in infertility, maiming and magnetic body-site of vaccination which deter them from yielding to getting vaccinated.

“Some were expectant of financial inducement before they would accept the vaccination due to false information that the government attached such incentive to the administration of vaccines.

“While some adamant individuals held the belief that death comes by any means, with or without the vaccine, hence vaccines had no shield nor effect against any individual’s health status,” she explained.

Agbogun said CPI embarked on 25 advocacy visits to relevant stakeholders such as traditional rulers, civil society organizations, media, religious bodies, trade unions among others in the course of the project between November 2021 and December 2022.

Aside advocacy visits, CPI also carried out 12 consolidated monitoring and supervision visits across the three senatorial districts in Kogi state.

CPI held 46 editions of radio programmes, aired sensitization jingles 96 times in four languages – Okun, Ebira, Igala and English languages.

“To gain citizens’ trust in the vaccines, CPI collaborated with Kogi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, civil society partners, religious organizations, traditional rulers and media houses to debunk false information and misconceptions about Covid-19 and its vaccine.

“The project also provided capacity building for stakeholders on emerging issues related to Covid-19 vaccines and relevant topics to ensure accurate information is disseminated to the target audience,” she said.

She appealed to Kogi state government to provide mobility, proper supervision for safe delivery of vaccines to the people living in remote areas to increase the vaccination rate in hard-to-reach communities in the state.

Agbogun who also solicited for prompt remuneration of health workers involved in Covid-19 vaccine campaign, urging stakeholders to continue to encourage adherence to the health and hygiene guidelines from relevant agencies.

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