The COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked great havoc globally and several efforts have been made to address/curb the devastating effects of the pandemic. Some of these efforts include preventive measures, such as facial mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. Others are treatment measures, including the use of medications like chloroquine and remdesivir. One of the most effective measures against viral infections is vaccination. This is because vaccines can provide immunity against COVID-19, such that people would not develop the disease at all or they do not develop severe illness; prevention, they say, is always better than cure. Hence, there has been a race since January 2020 to develop effective vaccines against the COVID-19-causing virus, SARS-CoV-2.
However, along with the emergence of the pandemic and then, the vaccines (one year afterwards), came several concerns, theories, speculations, and misconceptions about the origin of the virus and the authenticity of the associated vaccines. While these might seem inconsequential to some, it is important to note that giant strides that have been made in building confidence in vaccination in African nations, specifically rural communities, might be lost due to the continued propagation of false information about COVID-19 vaccines. Without aggressively addressing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation with true and correct information, a decline/regression in the acceptance of other vaccines might ensue in the coming years, consequently resulting in the potential re-emergence or increase in the occurrence of infectious diseases that have been previously controlled or eradicated.
Fiyinfoluwa Adesioye, PhD
(Contributors: Abiola Olaitan, PhD; Oladipo Kolawole, PhD; and Oluwayemisi Akingbola)