When the World Health Organisation coined the term infodemic, they mainly implied the spread of wrong, unverified information in communication spaces during a pandemic, in this case, a disease outbreak.
A type of communication that confuses people, encourages risk-taking behaviour that leads to mistrust in health authorities and undermines the public health response.
Be that as it may, infodemic must also be broken down to the failure of having proper communication channels that the government must use to guarantee that developments in managing the pandemic are well communicated to its citizens.
Access to information is one of the critical elements in managing the Covid-19 virus. Now that we are in the vaccination phase, communication practices still show the prevalence of coronavirus infodemic in Zimbabwe.
The vaccination drive has been progressing well in Zimbabwe, compared to other African states. The number of people getting vaccinated is getting better by the day.
However, there are still some gaps that need to be plugged for the smooth flow of vaccination, especially on who has access to the vaccines.
Some satellite clinics and suburb vaccination points have been declining to vaccinate lactating and pregnant women despite the directive that these can now be vaccinated.
Of course, the clinic staff cannot choose to sideline these women for amusement. There are claims that circulars and directives to that effect have not been directly communicated to them.
Just as Statutory Instruments follow government announcements, new vaccination developments must be communicated clearly to the administering staff.
Now that it was announced that the vaccination demography moved down to include those from 14-18 years, it would be prudent to have more reliable communication strategies and campaigns to that effect.
Still, on that infodemic note, government officials and politicians must get their heads in the game and get their facts rights before talking. Politicians have power and command huge followings of people who consider what they have to say.
It is unfortunate that when the World has accepted the available vaccine, MDC leader Nelson Chamisa downplayed levels of trust that can be attached to the administered jabs.
Even though the point he was driving was Africa need to develop its pharmaceuticals, he also questioned the integrity of the vaccination drive saying, “Why do we trust those who are coming from outside to then come and give us the appropriate dose or vaccine for that matter? We are in the era of things like biological welfare, we have no guarantee that what we have is best for the people,” he said.
Well, Zimbabwe is already at an advanced stage and the government must be applauded for its efforts in procuring the available vaccines. No politics should downplay the genuineness of the vaccination process at this point. All efforts, despite political differences, must be targeted at getting more people to get vaccinated through proper communication strategies at government and individual levels