Covid-19 Vaccination and Hesitancy Among People in Bauchi State
By Elizabeth Kah.
Abdulrahamn Bala is among many who could not take the covid-19 vaccine because of the rumors making the round about the Disease and the vaccine.
” I will not take the vaccine because there is no disease like Corona Virus , it’s just the western world that are playing over our intelligent. First Government said its meant for frontline workers so why should I take when am just a laborer?”
The outbreak of Corona virus pandermic in Wuhan China came with a lot of misinformation.
Rumors or misinformation attributed it to a Chinnese disease, it’s a laboratory virus and that it could not survive in places like Africa with hot weather. It’s the disease of the rich among others
When Nigeria recorded its first case on Febuary 27th 2020 many still had misinformation about it as they said it’s a white man disease.
Since it was diagnosed in an Italian this further confirmed the rumors making the round.
Bauchi State had its first index case on March 26 th when the Governor announced he tested positive to Corona Virus further confirmed the rumors to many that it’s a disease for the rich.
When Nigeria received the AstraZeneca Vaccine it informed Nigerians that the it was meant for frontline workers, including Health Workers, Security Agents, Media, Top Politicians, Traditional and Religious leaders.
This made many to zero their mind that it’s wasn’t meant for everyone and after wards it was opened for all but was met with rejection from many people.
Bauchi received 80,750 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines and another 24,270 doses totaling 105,020 doses.
Before the roll of the vaccination the State Taskforce on Covid- 19 through the Risk Communication sub committee had carried out community sensitization on the benefits of the vaccine, explaining possible side effects in all the 20 Local Government areas, in Markets and during key life events like weddings, naming ceremonies and religious gatherings.
Traditional leaders were sensitized so also religious leaders.
The media was also mobilize to include key messages in their reportage. Jingles, announcements, Discussion programs are still on to enlightenment the public.
The Governor and Members of the Executives of his executive council,traditional and religious leaders. It was done openly to encourage others take the vaccine.
Malam Sani Adamu of Ningi Local Government said he was among the first to take the vaccine even though people discouraged him.
” I know the importance of vaccine, that’s why I was delighted to take the Covid-19 vaccination, I had no side effect and have taken my second Jab.”
To Lami Haruna a housewife in Ganjuwa Local government the vaccine was a necessity as she is diabetic and would want any complication from Covid-19.
“Am been administered insulin injection for my condition so why should I wrong away from that of Corona Virus?”
According to suleiman Umar of Ningi Local Government he took the vaccine to prove rumor mongers wrong.
Aisha Bello who has been living with sickle cell disease for 35 years said the vaccine came as a relief to her.
“Since Febuary when the first index case was reported in Nigeria I have been living in fear wondering what will happen to me I case I get infected? So you see when the vaccine arrived I ensure I got my shot”.
Dr Ibrahim Magari of the ATBU Teaching Hospital Bauchi said seeing that the governor received the vaccine made him to follow suit.
Why I wouldn’t take the vaccine
Despite this however, there is still vaccine hesitancy among some few in the state.
30 years old Abdulrasheed Saleh is a sickle cell patient who despite knowing the vaccine is meant for people like them with under underlaying illness said he will not take the vaccine.
“Government is secretive with information about the disease and the vaccine. I was told the vaccine administered on the Governor is different from that of others, I also hear there is a microchips that is injected in ones body.”
Najib Sani a psychotherapist did not received the vaccine as he is questioning the speed at which the vaccine was produced.
” There are many diseases like HIV, Malaria, Tuberculosis even diabetics, women are dying daily due to pregnancy related complications and yet no vaccine was produced to address these problems. So why that of Covid -19.”
A parent Mohammed Inuwa of Bauchi Local Government said Government has not been able to address or react effectively to the rumors making the rounds about the efficacy of the vaccine. The awareness is limited and the fact that the first roll out was meant for frontline workers and later opened for all puts a question mark in my mind.”
Fatima Bello said she is yet to receive a shot because she has no idea where to go, as according to her public awareness is limited.
Grace Daniels is of the opinion that the Covid-19 vaccine came out so soon an indication that there is an interior motives from the western world as even some who took it fell sick .
” At the onset those Developed Countries said Africans will die as a result of Covid-19 and their bodies will litter the streets, so when we didt die they came up with vaccine to kill us, I wouldn’t take it I fact I wouldn’t take any other vaccination again.”
These few however did not affect the vaccination exercise as the state recorded 97. 9% coverage for the first dose.
Executive secretary State Primary Health Care Development Agency Dr Rilwanu Mohammed said most of the frontline workers have been vaccinated.
” The vaccination was also extended to traditional, Religious leaders, all intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia and Israel and interested members of the public.”
He noted that the Agency has continued with its enlightenment campaign and is working with Nigeria Red Cross and other Partners to mobilize people.
Dr Rilwanu Mohammed debunks rumors of major side effects and the injection of microchips as contained in videos making rounds on social media.
Speaking on why some people reject the vaccine, Dr Ibrahim Maigari of the Infectious Unit of ATBU Teaching Hospital Bauchi said Covid -19 is a new disease ,its clinical analysis is still ongoing and the race to developed the vaccine has raise doubts in the minds of many.
“Even Doctors are not fully aware of of all aspects of the vaccine which is why Government must intensify education and enlightenment to address misinformation.”
He noted that there is development in science which is why the vaccine came out a short period.
” The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine had to go through inspection by the National Agency For Food and Drugs Administration and Control NAFDAC who certified it fit for use in Nigeria. So the recent rumors of the vaccine having microchips is false.”
Dr Maigari noted that the vaccine is necessary to build community immunity as there are indication not all will been vaccinated.
This article is part of Covid-19 Response: Together For Reliable Information Project Implemented by PAGED Initiative supported by the EU& Free Press Unlimited.