PHARMACIST Jerome Kanyika says social media has worsened misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccines.

In an interview, Kanyika observed that before the coming of the internet, people received various vaccines without any suspicions.

“The coming of social media has made people have doubts about the vaccines. The vaccines that were introduced before the internet were accepted and taken by the people without any problem. Imagine in 1989 when we had [reported first] HIV and AIDS [cases], if it was an issue of social media, people would have been having problems accepting that. Imagine the time ARVs came, just like the way it is with polio, Ebola. We have all these challenges because of the issues of the coming in of social media where there are some myths that have been preached by some people who don’t want to see other people live. Imagine, for example, you have seen a lot of videos all over talking about how bad the vaccines are, which is not true,” he said.

“We know very well that vaccines are saving lives and we have seen how vaccines have been injected so far in the world. We have injected more than 3 billion doses of the vaccines. If the vaccines were bad, don’t you think 3 billion people would have died now? Don’t you think 3 billion people would have turned into animals or they would have been having issues? All those things have been put in place. But people are trying use our ignorance to push an agenda so that we find ourselves in serious problems. We should know that our budgeting line in Africa or in Zambia concerning health is not enough, so the meager resources that we have need to be used for the intended purpose, and in this situation, once the government buys the vaccines we need to be readily available to ensure that we get the vaccine accordingly. Not when the government buys the vaccines then we shun away from getting vaccinated for reasons that are not here or there, that’s unacceptable.”

He urged members of the public to support the COVID-19 vaccination national campaign.

“We need to support the campaign that will be launched by the Ministry [of Health]. The reason is simple, we are moving into the cold season where the numbers of Covid cases will start going up because Covid is like a flui, and most of the times we have been having a number of few cases increasing during this period of May to somewhere August. So we need to make sure that we protect ourselves by making sure that we get vaccinated, without that, it will be a big problem to fight Covid as it comes to attacking us. As you know very well we have other countries, neighboring countries like South Africa, that are now experiencing a 5th wave of Covid,” said Kanyika.

“We have also seen or heard about the new variant that has come out concerning the same Covid. So what we need is for all of us to get vaccinated and this campaign or the relaunch of the vaccination [campaign] has come at the right time when the world now is thinking to say we are going to be harmed again with another variant of the virus. What we need is for us to get protected against this virus by making sure that we are vaccinated.”