|Rogers Irimayi Masvingo provincial taskforce’s spokesperson|
The Masvingo Provincial Covid-19 Taskforce is committed to fighting misinformation on the Covid-19 vaccination so as to improve acceptance of the programme among citizens, it has been said.
The taskforce’s spokesperson, Rogers Irimayi, who also chairs the Risk Communication Subcommittee of the taskforce, said much of the misinformation, known in contemporary terminology as ‘infodermic’, was mostly prevalent on social media.
“At first, the vaccination programme was given poor reception as people had doubts about the vaccine’s efficacy and due to many conspiracy theories being cooked up. A lot of unhelpful social media content was circulated, leading to hesitancy among the people. For example, a wild theory that vaccination would lead to a wipe-out of the Black race was propagated on social media,” said Irimayi.
He said this during a Covid-19 response, resource mobilisation and distribution discussion organised by TellZim and the Civic Centre on May 27.
He said he was pleased that there was now a ‘rush’ for vaccines among the general populace as people become more informed about the motive of the vaccination programme and the efficacy of the vaccines being used.
“As a taskforce, we are doing everything we can to make sure that correct information concerning vaccination programme is being disseminated. Of late, there has been an increase in the number of people visiting health centres to get vaccinated. That makes us excited because we know that our efforts to communicate the right messages are having a positive effect,” said Irimayi.
He urged people to make good use of social media platforms by sharing truthful information about vaccines and the vaccination programme rather than spreading fake news.
“People should explain the importance of vaccines rather than ‘cook’ fake theories that do more harm than good to the people,” said Irimayi.
Vaccination uptake in Masvingo province has tremendously increased, with 37 245 people having received their first doses, while 18 736 people had received their second doses as on May 26.