Map of Plateau State used to demonstrate the story.

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – Citizens of Plateau State have been urged to ensure they are vaccinated against the COVID-19 disease as contrary to the campaign against it, the vaccine is safe and effective.

At a town hall meeting held in Jos to create public awareness on the COVID-19 vaccine, Friday Bako who is working on a COVID-19 Public Education Project with support from the MacArthur Foundation and the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) said the event was an opportunity to reach out to marginalized groups, thereby raising ambassadors that will talk to others about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Bako explained that it was very vital for citizens to increase the uptake of the vaccine as that was the only alternative to control the disease, stressing, “The role of youth influencers in society cannot be overlooked as they offer wider coverage, especially coming from communities where information dissemination is poor.

“The sensitization will help build them as ambassadors and when they go back to their communities, they will step down what they have heard about the COVID-19 vaccine and make sure that there is a wide level of acceptability.”

Also addressing the participants, the Chief Medical Laboratory Scientist at National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) Vom, Plateau State Tobias Choji, said that the COVID-19 Vaccines have been certified safe globally because it has passed through the different stages of a clinical trial stating that “during the clinical trial, the vaccine’s efficacy, and safety effectiveness is known before being sent to the public for general administration.”

READ : 50 suspects including killers of NDLEA personnel paraded in Nasarawa

He further assured the people that the issuance of the vaccines was not something that was done within a small circle of people but it passed through processes from local communities to regions to counties and continents among others to ensure global standard and safety.

Similarly, a Researcher, Michael Nungkop explained that COVID-19 vaccine side effects are not different from normal vaccine side effects, hence, the youths should desist from spreading false and unverified information about the vaccines.

Speaking on the topic “How Youths Can Increase The COVID-19 Vaccine Up-take” he lamented that the sharing of fake news about the vaccine by young people is partly responsible for the fierce hesitation against the vaccine.

He stressed that sharing unverified content led to the volume of misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 and the Vaccine and urged the public to disregard any rumour, saying that the COVID-19 Vaccine is not only safe but OK for human consumption as proven by health experts.

On how to encourage uptake of the vaccine, he added “the youths can however reverse their actions by disseminating the right information regarding COVID-19. Influential people who have taken the COVID-19 vaccine should make it public through conversations to help others take the vaccine as well.”

He also appealed for religious organizations to be incorporated into the sensitization campaign to increase the uptake of the COVID-19 Vaccine.

Participants at the event assured to do their part in increasing the uptake of the vaccine in their communities.