Falsehood campaign against COVID-19 vaccines
Sir: Without a doubt, the word ‘COVID-19’ is familiar to everyone except infants. Even infants discernibly observe strange changes particularly unusual access to parents that used to be unavailable, during the global lockdown. The pandemic inarguably shook the world and humbled superpowers as equals to third-world countries. Notably, Coronavirus enabled poor-developing countries to also boldly ban citizens and travellers from rich developed nations including USA, United Kingdom, Switzerland amongst others from entry.
Coronavirus diseases, an infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and initially reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on December 31, 2019. Amid the outbreak witnessed all manner of predicaments – confusions, conspiracy theories and fake news against information from WHO and other relevant bodies. In the United States, the then president, Donald Trump spearheaded the conspiracy theories for selfish interests and arrogantly went to extreme by stopping WHO funding. Excitingly, Joe Biden reviewed it immediately he was inaugurated.
In Nigeria, many accepted the conspiracy theories despite no scientific proof. The fallacies against COVID-19 include; “COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility in women,” “COVID-19 vaccine alters one’s genetic codes,” “5G network spreads Coronavirus,” “Drinking alcohol reduces the risk of infection,” “COVID-19 vaccines imbed ‘mark-of-the-beast,’” “Real vaccines take years to produce,” “COVID-19 vaccines attract severe side-effects and allergic reactions,” etc. These are all misconceptions and misleading.
First, technology advancement affects speed and produces results faster than centuries ago. Today, the COVID-19 vaccines are facing similar rejections other vaccines prior to it like vaccines for chickenpox, measles, poliomyelitis also faced.
On 5th generation (5G) network, scientists have always deflated the allegations that it causes Coronavirus. In fact, it should be noted that 5G is not the end in the expansion series. It began from G1 network and will continue to advance by innovations of scientists. And from record, COVID-19 has significantly plagued countries with little or no 5G network coverage including Iran.
In WHO statistics, from January 3, 2020, a total of 226,236,577 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and 4,654,548 deaths from its complications were recorded globally as at 4.18 p.m. on September 16, 2021. In Nigeria, on September 17, 2021, a total of 200,957 confirmed cases, 2,647 deaths and 188,817 discharged cases were recorded. These figures affirm that COVID-19 is not a myth but real. Sadly, these deaths didn’t take place far from those rebuffing the outbreak. In fact, many medical doctors had been infected; some died, some survived. Interestingly, COVID vaccines are administered free.
To sum, preventive measures including approved vaccines health experts prescribe as remedies to the outburst should be welcomed without fear. To conspiracy theorists, they must note that the blood of those that died following their misleading claims are on their heads.
Carl Umegboro, ACIArb, is a public affairs analyst and social crusader.