THE Ministry of Health has noted with concern that there has been hesitance among members of the public to receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to myths surrounding it and fears regarding the side effects.

Speaking when she officially opened a media orientation workshop on COVID-19 vaccine demand generation in Kafue, Wednesday, Ministry of Health provincial senior health promotion officer Christine Shawa said more needed to be done to sensitise citizens on the need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and to reassure them on its safety.

She noted that the hesitance among most citizens to receive the vaccine was due to lack of knowledge on how the vaccine works.

“Overall, there is hesitance on acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine. People have heard that the vaccine is there but there is hesitance. And the hesitance is based on the fears that people have regarding the side effects. People have heard from those that have gotten the vaccine that there are side effects and they have fears. Others fear just the needle, they have the fear of getting the jab. What does that entail? There is need for more information so that people can understand how the vaccine works. If people understand the benefits, they will go for it,” Shawa said.

She further expressed concern that the risk perception concerning COVID-19 was low.

“Secondly, at the moment the province is undertaking a lot of studies. The research which was conducted showed that risk perception concerning COVID-19 is very low. The way people perceive this pandemic is very low. So if you don’t see it (the pandemic) as a danger, as a serious matter, that’s what we mean by low risk perception. When you go to Soweto, for those of us who are in Lusaka, what is there? ‘There is no COVID’. To those people, marketeers, it doesn’t exist, it’s just business. Masking up is an issue,” Shawa said.

Meanwhile, Chief Health promotion Officer Winfridah Mulenga assured breastfeeding women that they could also receive the vaccine.