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COVID-19 : AstraZeneca vaccine, Benefit Outweighs Its Risks-Africa CDC

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Joel Ajayi

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that the benefits accruable from the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines continue to outweigh its risks, as more Africans show readiness to take the vaccines.

Recently, COVAX rolled out AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for 13 African countries, with 29,288, 960 million doses allocated, and as at time of filing this report, 8,696,960million doses have been received so far.

As at 15th March, 2021, COVAX has distributed the vaccines to 13 African countries  which include, Angola, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Eswatini, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Togo and Uganda.

It will be recalled that the law of resistance took its course when AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was first rolled out, as there are various myths on COVID-19 vaccines that have been widely spread and accepted to be true. The prevalence of these myths further pushed doubts about the vaccine and reduced willingness to receive the vaccine.

But today, through the awareness and aggressive campaign of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the tension is gradually nosediving as more Africans are willing and ready to receive the vaccine.

Meanwhile, as at Wednesday 24th of March 2021, when this report was filed, the total case of Covid-19 in Africa stand at 4, 123 632 million, with total recoveries of 3,690, 718 while total death stands at 110,164.

In a webinar meeting hosted by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, public strategy firm, Gatefield, and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator, journalists were engaged on the issue of COVID-19 vaccines safety, effectiveness, and distribution, on Wednesday, across the African countries tagged: “Effective Reporting on COVID-19 Vaccines.”

The findings from across the continent revealed that, two-thirds of citizens interviewed expressed willingness to accept the COVID-19 vaccines though, sentiment has varied across the continent.

 In the 19 member countries surveyed, 91% of the people surveyed in Morocco were most interested in receiving the vaccines while Tunisia and Cameroon had the lowest number of people, at 35%.

The report equally disclosed the levels of acceptability in other countries as follows; South Africa (61%), Zimbabwe (61%), Zambia (53%), Mozambique (75%), Egypt (78%), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (52%).

This was revealed as part of the findings of a report released by the Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to Covid-19 (PERC) Consortium. The consortium is made up of public health organizations such as the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention; Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies; the World Health Organization; the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team; the World Economic Forum and private sector firms such as the market research company, Ipsos.

The new briefs (part of the third series of data collection and analysis from PERC) combined results from phone surveys on the impact of public health and social measures (PHSMs) with information on epidemiological trends, media monitoring, and data on population mobility.

While speaking during the webinar, the Nigeria Country Representative of Resolve to Save Lives, Dr. Emmanuel Agogo, outlined the reasons for vaccine hesitancy identified in the research.

He also urged the media to take responsibility for enlightening audiences.

According to him, Journalists can inform and increase public confidence in vaccines.

He charged journalists not to be sensational in reporting on vaccines since many myths are perpetuated, they should instead, distribute reliable and accurate information; “Media should do research, check the facts and use trusted sources of information.”

In the presentation, the Africa CDC recommended that African countries should continue the rollout of the vaccine.

On his own, the African Taskforce for Coronavirus (AFTCOR) Dr. Ouma said, with ongoing finding and evidence-based information, benefits of the vaccines outweigh its risks.

An expert panel of Journalists including Hopewell Chin’ono, an award-winning investigative Journalist from Zimbabwe; Dr. Laz Ude Eze, AIT television host; Tanya Farber, senior science reporter, Sunday Times; Vuyo Mkize, health writer, City Press; and Elizabeth Merab, health and science journalist, Nation Media Group, shared their experiences covering vaccines at the event and advocated for more responsible reporting on the subject.

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Yoruba Self-Determination Rally Begins In Ibadan

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The Yoruba self-determination rally organised by the Ilana Omo Oodua is underway in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

Hundreds of members of the group whose leader is an 86-year-old Emeritus Professor of History, Banji Akintoye, had initially scheduled the take-off of the rally for the ancient Mapo Hall but the heavy presence of armed policemen forced them to change the venue.

They are addressing people at Mapo Roundabout but they were not disturbed by the police in any way.

The agitators are armed with banners and Yoruba nation flags while leaders of the group addressing the people are saying Yoruba people are tired of staying with Nigeria.

One of the leaders of the group, Basorun Kunle Adesokan, said Yoruba were no longer part of Nigeria and the people want to be an independent nation.

He condemned the insecurity in Yorubaland, saying the people could no longer stand the injustice in Nigeria.

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