The Ministry of Health in the Northern Province has challenged the media to help sensitize the public on the Covid 19 vaccine in order to generate demand from the people.
Provincial Health Director, Lawrence Phiri said the media as agents of change should help to create awareness to the public so that people can start accessing the vaccine.
He indicated that the media is a critical stakeholder and a valuable source of information for the masses as it cuts across boundaries.
Dr. Phiri explained that it is therefore important for the media to develop clear, accurate, and consistent communication which is responsive to people’s needs and influences positive behavior towards the vaccine.
“There are a number of myths and misconceptions about the safety and efficiency of the vaccine but it’s your role as the media to ensure that you help in addressing any misconceptions, disinformation and rumors concerning the vaccine,” he said.
Dr. Phiri said this during a media engagement meeting on COVID-19 vaccination held at Ludo Lodge in Kasama district.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Health Director has expressed happiness with the response of people in Nsama and Mporokoso districts towards the vaccination exercise.
He said the two districts have seen a positive attitude by people in accessing the vaccine adding that this is a tremendous effort in ensuring a smooth delivery of Covid-19 vaccine to priority groups.
Dr. Phiri said this is an indication that people in the two districts understand the importance of the vaccine in mitigating the negative effects of the pandemic on the economy.
“ The introduction of Covid-19 vaccine alongside consistently advocating for COVID appropriate behavior of wearing masks, washing hands, maintaining physical distance, prompt testing and isolation is a major step towards reducing the spread of the pandemic and further reducing the associated disease and deaths.” He said
And speaking at the same meeting Emmanuel Banda who represented media personnel said such engagements are helpful to journalists in the province as they are an important stakeholders in the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic.
He said the engagement meeting has empowered the media with skills and information that will enable them to educate the public on the vaccine and create confidence in the exercise.
Mr. Banda noted that the myths, rumours and misconceptions have taken center stage in the uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine hence the need for media personnel who are experts in communication to disseminate correct information to the grassroots.