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Specialist attributes misinformation, others to slow response to COVID-19 vaccine

coronavirus

By Fabian Ekeruche

Lagos, Nov. 24, 2021

Mr Aderemi Temitayo, a Public Health Specialist at the University of Ibadan has attributed misinformation on the adverse effects of Covid-19 vaccine to the slow response of rural communities to vaccinations.

Temitayo stated this while speaking at a Webinar organised by the Gabriel Ajama Foundation on “why rural communities respond slowly to COVID-19 vaccine.”

According to him, the lack of proper awareness on the importance of Covid-19 vaccines has slowed down acceptance of the vaccination in rural communities.

Enumerating other barriers to slow Covid -19 response, Temitayo said: “Rural residents often travel longer distances to receive the COVID-19 vaccine than people in other areas, and they generally lack access to public transportation”

“.Rural residents may also struggle to receive critical public health information due to unreliable access to the Internet and other technology equipment, such as smartphones and computers.”

“Attitude of health care providers, e.g., family doctors, nurses, pharmacists, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), dentists, community health workers (CHWs).Lack of proper awareness on the importance of Covid-19 vaccine,” the specialist said.

Aderemi said that if organisations and state agencies were encouraged to fold in vaccine education information to other public health campaigns and community programs, more rural communities would be open to vaccination.

“Identify trusted community voices to combat vaccine misinformation and answer questions of their peers through groups like health neighbourhoods and immunization coalitions.

“Establish avenues such as surveys, focus groups or town halls to hear from district, county and local leaders to understand the unique reasons for hesitancy within specific communities and develop targeted approaches.

“Create a unified, bipartisan message to resonate across ideological lines and unite state and local leaders on vaccine and public health messaging, Temitayo said.

The expert said that providing rural areas with the opportunity to recruit and leverage nonclinical providers to support work including, but not limited to, community health workers, medical reserve volunteers, peer coordinators and National Guard members would help in curbing misinformation.

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