Misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines appears to have gotten worse and is keeping people from getting the shots, driving an increase in cases.
WHO official, Maria Van Kerkhove revealed this recently.
Medical personnel in Nigeria have complained that COVID misinformation has constituted a major threat to all the efforts been made to stamp out the disease.
An official of Kano State ministry of health told Nigerian Sketch that “even health care givers share in the underlying misinformation about COVID-19, and I must tell you that if government did not make the taking of vaccine mandatory, a lot of health officials will not take it, I am sure.” Misinformation has become a growing problem in the outbreak, fueling vaccine hesitancy among a wary public, health officials have complained.
In Kano State, “a lot of our people still believe Covid is a mirage. They say even if it exists, it is not as potent as it is being made to appear,” he said, adding that misinformation is not a Kano of Nigerian issue but rather “a global phenomenon.
Maria Van Kerkhove said during a Q&A livestreamed on the WHO’s social media channels that “In the last four weeks or so, the amount of misinformation that is out there seems to be getting worse, and I think that’s really confusing for the general public,”.
Misinformation has become another risk factor that is “really allowing the virus to thrive,” she said.
Public health leaders have blamed conspiracy theories and misinformation for growing distrust of the vaccines around the world — so much so that in July, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, declared Covid misinformation a “serious public threat.”
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey conducted July 15-27, most unvaccinated Americans think the Covid vaccines are more of a threat to their health than contracting the virus itself.
Part of the misinformation going round about the vaccine are that it causes infertility, contains microchips and causes Covid-19, said Yusuf Sani Jogana, an administrative officer in a state hospital in Kano.
Nigerian Sketch also found that misinformation about alternative treatments for Covid-19 are prevalent among the populace.
For instance, a local herbs seller claims that a certain shrub called ‘Tazargade’ is effective against the disease and can completely cure it.
Tazargade has received so much attention that authorities are already beginning to consider carrying out a research about its efficacy.
Other more dangerous claims are that bathing with hot water, drinking hot water with lemon juice and chewing bitter kola can either prevent contracting COVID-19 or cure it when it is detected.
But medical experts have insisted that the best way to cut down the time frame to getting to the end of this pandemic is through mass vaccination.