• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Vaccines preferences call for new strategies in public health communication

Vaccines preferences call for new strategies in public health communication

Nigerians have different preferences and acceptance levels for the various brands of coronavirus vaccines available in the country. This means public health communications strategies are to be tailored accordingly.

Understanding and measuring the impact of preferences on vaccination could increase vaccination rates, however, it will require more innovative approaches to reach those who remain hesitant.

Many Nigerians want the covid-19 vaccine but make the decision to vaccinate based not on a simple question of acceptability. Nigerians compare brands of the covid-19 vaccine. This has implications and informs different attitudes and reluctance levels and even rejection as many wait for a particular name of vaccine before getting vaccinated.

Decision-makers have anticipated and recognized these challenges and strategized solutions at scale.

These challenges fall under, vaccine distribution, exposure to misinformation, and poor awareness.

However, mandating vaccination across states in the country is not enough rather developing vaccination strategies that will be modeled on what people want could further increase uptake.

With the new discovery of Omicron around countries is not a surprise. Upon characterizing the mutations in the variant, scientists in South Africa last week quickly raised the world’s alarms about the potential threat it posed, but it had already started to circulate silently.

Omicron is about the fifth variant of COVID-19 discovered and named since the outbreak of the pandemic about two years ago.

Public health messaging should be tailored to continually address these concerns and specifically to ethnic minorities, and people with lower levels of education and incomes.

Presently in Nigeria, Moderna vaccine Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and Janssen vaccine are in use and a total of 1,692,315 eligible persons are fully vaccinated according to the Executive-Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib.

To inform COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategies that are aligned with public preferences and demand creation in order to ensure the spread of pandemic is brought under control through the importation of vaccines and accessibility to vaccines.

A single dose of Janssen Ad26.COV2. S was found in clinical trials to have an efficacy of 66.9% against symptomatic moderate and severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.

For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, people 12 years and older can get vaccinated and will need two shots given 3 weeks (21 days) apart. Moderna vaccine people 18 years and older get twos shots given 4 weeks (28 days).

Read also: COVID-19: FG bans vaccines with short shelf life

Meanwhile, many pieces of research have focused on the acceptability of vaccines, strategies to improve vaccination would benefit from more nuanced insights into preferences around both vaccine characteristics and delivery approaches.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Africa, only 15 out of 54 countries have achieved the 10% target. Half of the countries on the continent have vaccinated less than 2% of their population. However, some larger countries with big populations have fallen far short of this target. Egypt only has about 5% of its population fully vaccinated, with Ethiopia and Nigeria each less than 3%.

Vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way of protecting you against harmful diseases before you come into contact with them. It uses your body’s natural defences to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger.

View from experts at a recent Covid-19 vaccine campaign in Enugu State organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) outlined that Nigerians hesitating and selecting the type of vaccine are concerned about vaccine features, service delivery, and social proof of vaccine safety are susceptible to enforcement which alone did not spell out the burden but also recommends the need to debunking the various myths around Covid-19 vaccine.

An interview with Nwachukwu Ugwunna, community Medicine department UNTH, Enugu, shows that identifying the several critical insights for the COVID-19 and public health response and identifying people preference of vaccine are essential to ensuring that vaccination services meet the needs of various population subgroups.

“Vaccines are now widely available. Nigerians do not need to wait for a specific brand. People should learn how to find a COVID-19 vaccine so they can get it as soon as they can. All currently authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines: are safe, are effective, and reduce your risk of severe illness.

“COVID-19 vaccines have reached billions of people worldwide; the evidence is overwhelming that no matter which one you take, the vaccines offer life-saving protection against a disease that has killed millions.

“It’s not vaccines that will stop the pandemic, its vaccination. Vaccines are the shot in the arm we all need – literally and figuratively. However, to keep debunking myths and increase awareness of vaccination, we continue to fight the biggest challenge of Covid-19 which is misinformation.

“The pandemic is far from over, and they are our best bet of staying safe. We must ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines, and ensure every country receives them and can roll them out to protect their people, starting with the most vulnerable.

The journey for vaccination populace across local, state, and federal level to herd immunity against COVID-19 continues to present significant policy challenges that require a collaborative, national response.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said states have been guided not to exceed their 50 percent utilisation rates for Moderna vaccines in order to reserve the second doses for all those already vaccinated. He noted that most states have reached this percentage and priority is now focused on administering AstraZeneca vaccine as the first dose vaccine in all states across the country.

He urged states yet to publish their vaccination sites to do so across the various media platforms – newspapers, radio, TV, and social media, to enable people to locate their nearest vaccination sites.

There has been a widespread fall in vaccine hesitancy so far. Negative attitudes towards misinformation of covid-19 vaccines and uncertainty or unwillingness to receive vaccinations are major barriers to managing the COVID-19 pandemic in the long term. Vaccinations are an important part of maintaining health and vaccines prevent additional disease outbreaks during the pandemic.

Debunking the various myths around the Covid-19 vaccine is a concern and there are also worries about lack of awareness of vaccines and It is hard to quantify the impact it may have, therefore is a call for more individuals to get aggressively in the countering of misinformation as debunking does not work but it is argued.

To fill this gap, WHO noted a substantial increase in misinformation during the pandemic, this has been challenging and onerous to monitor.

It is, therefore, essential for information to be provided in different languages and is widely promoted through community champions.

Therefore, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) recommendation for the public urged that given the risk of increased transmissibilty of Omicron variant, as continued transmission as seen in largely unvaccinated populations from which this new variant has emerged also encourages the emergence of newer and possibly more dangerous variants

interrupting transmission of the virus remains our best defense against this virus and path to returning to normalcy. we can only achieve this through vaccination and adherence to the proven safety measures such as wearing face masks, regular hand washing and physical distancing.

The agency appeal to business owners, religious leaders and people in authority to take responsibility by ensuring people in their premises adhere to these measures. we strongly urge Nigerians to only share information from trusted sources including NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health. Our safety as a country depends on our collective responsibility.