From Gyang Bere, Joseph

The implementing partner of the Center for Development and Information Technology (CITAD)/Macarthur Foundation public education project on the COVID-19 vaccine, Friday Bako, has called on the media to support the creation of awareness about vaccine acceptance and access to the marginalized. groups in northern Nigeria.

Bako made the call during a press conference with reporters in Jos, where he assured that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and potent, encouraging Nigerians to get vaccinated.

He explained that the year-long awareness project is sponsored by the Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)/MacArthur Foundation to promote vaccine acceptance and access for marginalized groups in the northern states of Nigeria. .

He said the project was to “Conduct public education on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines to address vaccine resistance and hesitancy, which in turn will increase the vaccination rate in the state.

“Oversee the deployment, distribution and use of vaccines to promote accountability and transparency in vaccine management by working with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and counterparts at the state level, as well as with the Nigerian Center for Disease Control. (NCDC), as well as other civil society actors working on accountability in the health sector.

“Increase the level of information on access points to get vaccinated and ensure that marginalized groups, especially people with special needs, have unlimited access to the vaccine in close collaboration with the State Primary Health Agencies.

“To combat fake news, misinformation and all conspiracy theories intended to make people disbelieve in the existence of the virus, as well as discourage them from getting vaccinated.

“We understand the critical role that the media plays as opinion shapers, gatekeepers and sources of accurate information, as well as its ability to hold those in authority to account.

“This necessitated this negotiation, as we have observed how fake news, conspiracy theories, and other scientifically unproven false claims have negatively affected the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.”

He noted that the media enthusiastically is the critical guardian of the media in society and described it as a partner in progress, noting that involving the media will have a significant impact on actualizing the project.

“The circulating COVID-19 vaccines have been certified by the WHO, which is responsible for international public health, as safe, effective, innocuous, and useful for eradicating the virus. In this regard, it is important to commend the efforts, synergy and collaboration of global health experts who worked day and night to ensure that vaccines are produced in the shortest possible time to combat the virus.

“It is important that the media assume its responsibility to provide the public with accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines by dispelling false news that has raised doubts,” he said.

He further stated: “Globally, as of today, there have been 660,623,962 total cases of COVID-19 with a death toll of 6,681,686. 633,433,753 who recovered from the virus after contracting it. 20,508,523 active cases with 38,495 in a critical situation. In Nigeria: 266,381 confirmed cases, 259,759 discharged, 3,467 active cases and 3,155 deaths so far.

“In Plateau: 10,341 confirmed cases, 10,260 discharged, 6 people admitted and 75 deaths. From December 3 to 9, 2022, 31 new confirmed cases ”, he stated.