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Role of Correct, Timely Medical and Health Information in Times of Disaster

AstraZeneca vaccine
AstraZeneca vaccine (Image/Courtesy)

Unlike other pandemics experienced globally, the COVID-19 Pandemic has brought into light the misfortune of having delayed communication on what is happening.

Over one year later, one of the reasons, while some people do not follow instructions given to deter the spread of the virus, has been as a result of contradictory information being released by governments and healthcare decision-makers.

This has unfortunately led to conspiracy theories taking place in the midst of truths, and the theorists seem to have been more forceful in their campaigns. For example, it is common knowledge that developing vaccines normally takes years of research and development before a vaccine can be rolled out to the masses.

Read: Kenya Receives 200,000 Doses of Sinopharm Vaccine from China

The duration for the COVID-19 vaccines to be researched, developed, manufactured, tested and rolled out took less than a couple of months. The relevant bodies, in the worst-case scenario, should have explained to the masses what is different about this particular virus/vaccine, besides the magnitude of its spread, that has led to this high speed of rolling out.

Jayesh Saini is of the opinion that this could have been avoided if the swiftness of administration had been done with prior proper, scientific explanation. This way the high suspicion and rejection of the vaccine across many nations would have been deterred or reduced. This has led to the conspiracy theory that this was a man-made-in-the-lab-virus with the antidote already prepared.

This has caused some nations, such as China to receive a backlash with some of their people in foreign countries receiving a backlash and attacks that have been regrettable.

Another unfortunate information was how the proponents for use of masks, hand sanitizers and the vaccine were given so much coverage saying that in Africa, people would drop dead like flies as a result of the COVID-19. Even as the virus has transformed into various variants, the focus has again been on how adversely it would affect Africa than any other part of the world. All this has been spoken without the medical experts coming out to give directions and either refute or acknowledge this kind of statements. It would have been prudent also if this kind of statements were true to ensure that Africa got a priority in receiving the vaccine to avert the “predicted” calamity.

Read: Kenya Receives 795,600 Doses of Pfizer Vaccine from the US

Without undermining the impact of the pandemic in nations across the globe, Jayesh opines that there has been too much unnecessary information, miscommunication, contradictory information up to and including in the recent when in one hand it is said people can combine vaccines and on the other we are told that this has not been verified.

Jayesh Saini encourages everyone to verify the information being spread across the social media and to ensure we all keep safe as it is evident from personal experiences people have died as a result of the virus.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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