Report responsibly on Covid-19 vaccine, Zim journalists urged

Media practitioners have been urged to report responsibly on the Sinopharm vaccine in order to build confidence members among citizens who are yet to take the vaccine.

These remarks were made by Dr Mark Dixon, a consultant physician and senior lecturer at NUST Medical school during an online program hosted by CITE and IAM4BYO Fighting Covid-19, Friday, entitled “Fears, Myths and Facts about Covid-19 Vaccination.”

Dr Dixon said the efficacy of the Sinopharm vaccine, has been approved by various countries thus far. 

He said by sharing this kind of information on media platforms, we get to direct the conversations pertaining to the vaccine instead of waiting to react to what is shared from other platforms.

“Sinapharm is about 79-80 percent efficient. Other clinical trials for the vaccine were done in other countries where they showed an 86 percent efficacy rate which is similar to other vaccines from other countries. There is an increased number of countries that have approved the use of Sinopharm based on the information coming from other countries which ran clinical trials of this vaccine and have it rolled out since,” Dr Dixon said.

Mildrend Sandi,the Chief executive officer of DP Foundation and a Psychotherapist concurred that journalists have a crucial role to play in terms of creating awareness about the vaccine.

“There is need to publicise the places where the vaccine is obtained. Journalists are required to talk to people and pass the proper information about the processes, the centers and everything else that is there to know about the vaccine.

People must be given details about where the vaccination will be done, how many people have been vaccinated and what the effects have been so that people can be abreast with the information. This will help to build trust and enable people to learn that they can get the vaccine and still be able to go on with their lives,” she said.

“Another way to build confidence amongst the people and motivate them to get vaccinated is to have champions-people who would have been vaccinated and then share their experiences. If they converse with the rest of the public, it would be possible to learn from their experiences and demystify the issues around the vaccine. People would be certain that the virus was tried and tested and is safe for use.”

Pastor Trevor Masuku the vice president of Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe noted that the best way to put people at ease is through disseminating the correct information.

“Information dissemination is the only way out. Of late, the biggest challenge that we have is that everyone sees themselves as a journalist. Whenever they pick up facts about Covid-19 they just rush to share it on social media platforms without verifying it thus misleading the public,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that bad news, alarming news travels faster than true and correct information. We must therefore create safe spaces where people can be able to access correct information. The suggestion of having champions within communities to assist with the dissemination of correct information to the masses.”

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