A couple of weeks ago, this publication ran an editorial on misinformation and fear being a major derailing factor in administering the vaccine and vaccination roll-out plan.
The government is now facing a painful reality on the consequences of not providing information as most frontline workers are shunning the first phase of the inoculation programme.
Unsatisfactory numbers have forced the authorities to mull a mandatory vaccination plan. At the same time, the government risks violating health rights as enshrined in the country’s constitution.
The main reason raised by health workers is the lack of data on the efficacy and safety of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.
In this age of diverse communication platforms, there is a lot of misinformation, conspiracy theories and fake news that everyone cannot help but consume.
This information has a strong influence on decisions that will be made by frontline workers on whether to get vaccinated or not.
What the government entirely failed to do was to counter misinformation by flooding communication channels with the right information on the vaccine, statistics on its success rate and what it means to be vaccinated.
This way, citizens would have made informed decisions. Surely the uptake of the vaccine would be higher than the country is experiencing.
World Health Organisation Zimbabwe has also not been helping a lot on this matter. There is a lack of clarification on the safety of the Sinopharm vaccine.
This is not too late for the government to rump up their awareness campaign on the Sinopharm vaccine and provides relevant information to the public.
Again we will say this, the government through its relevant ministries must at this point be working flat out to address misconceptions against getting vaccinated.
Community leaders, religious leaders and heavy resource mobilization towards reassuring the citizens that the vaccine is safe will help in flattening out the lack of trust.
Downplaying this will prove fatal, we will be surprised by the extent to which cultural beliefs, religious beliefs and political affiliations will affect the national inoculation programme.
People cannot blindly get vaccinated considering all the information that has been thrown around in this ongoing infordemic.
A clear plan should also be set out that outlines how more vaccines will be acquired and how these will be administered to benefit everyone lest the exercise becomes elitist.