COVID -19 Vaccines, Today’s Game Changer

By Edward Makuzva

This is not the first time a global pandemic has transformed life as we know it —- history is chequered with periods when diseases went on the rampage, sweeping away the lives and livelihoods of millions of people.

But this time it’s different — unlike the Black Death in the Middle Ages, Bubonic plague, or even the so-called ‘Spanish flu’ a century ago, this time we have an ace up our sleeves.
COVID-19 vaccines will enable us to limit the deaths and are critical to reducing damage to the economy.

Vaccination has globally proved to be an effective prevention pillar, which is cost effective, too. Prevention is always better than treatment.

COVID-19 vaccine is a game-changer that can stop the pandemic from endangering the lives and livelihoods worldwide. We’re urging everyone to get vaccinated because we know it’s the only way to end this pandemic.

The inability to achieve high COVID-19 vaccination rates can continue to have serious harm to our communities. Hence, vaccine hesitancy is a major barrier towards high vaccination rates.

Speaking to the journalists at the Health Comunicators Forum (HCF) Science Cafe, facilitated by Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre (HIFC) Wednesday , Zimbabwe Associated of Church Related Hospitals (ZACH), Training and Programmes Coordinator, Gertrude Guvheya added that vaccination is one of the most successful public health interventions in reducing disease spread, preventing complications and even deaths from vaccine preventable diseases.

Guvheya added that the success of vaccines in reducing disease should not suggest that vaccine preventable diseases are no longer a threat.

The cafes are funded by AVAC.

” Vaccines are very good and they protecting us also they come as a game changer from the time we started getting vaccinated we experienced fewer cases of deaths and severe cases of COVID so this is the messages we are going to disseminate to our people.

“We want to educate our people that vaccines are just like vaccines given to childrens they help us to prevent illness.

“We need to change our message now to tell the positive side of the vaccines, and we need to give the examples.

“Some people may not understand why we are still talking about Covid-19 vaccination, and yet we have few cases of Covid-19.

“In some areas right now, there are no cases of Covid-19 being reported, the reason being that people are getting vaccinated, that’s why we are getting zero cases of Covid-19 infections,” Guvheya explained.

Guvheya revealed that Covid-19 is still with us, and we have pockets where we are still getting cases . Remember, people are travelling, and the borders are opened.

“In China, we have heard of new cases recently. So we might never know strain can still come, so we need also to be prevented,” she added.

Guvheya urged everyone to be fully vaccinated, and those who only got one or two doses were encouraged to complete the course.

Guvheya said they held and continue to sensitise faith leaders.
“We have several meetings with faith leaders from different religions. We share and discuss information, we see where they are coming from, and we don’t denounce anyone. In Zimbabwe, we have freedom of worship, so respect every religious group,” she said.

Speaking at the same occasion, Rev Innocent Chitanda, Secretary General of Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe and Africa( UDACIZA) said vaccinations are an important part of family and public health which prevent the spread of contagious, dangerous, and deadly diseases.

Rev Chitanda added after trainings which they did with ZACH, they realised that communities believed in myths, misinformation, and disinformation on social media and traditional and religious beliefs that are anti-vaccines have also added to the problem.

Rev Chitanda said church leaders should be provided with the correct information on the issue using vaccines so that the congregants will be taking these vaccines seriously.

“Due to misinformation on vaccines, some sources are saying the vaccines were developed too quickly to be trusted, and they altar your DNA as well as they can cause fertility problems.

“There were myths and misconceptions on vaccine side effects and efficacy concerns were top reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. These fuelled fear and resulted in many people not being willing to get vaccinated.

“Church leaders should be given correct information and not to rely on social media. It will be easy when preaching the importance of Covid-19 vaccines

“If I’m vaccinated, I’m not going to spread the virus to other people, be at church, workplaces, or in supermarkets,” Rev Chitanda explained.

The UDACIZA Secretary General added that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we train and educate our congregants on the importance of vaccines, and the response keeps getting better.

Zimbabwe recorded its first death of a media personality, at the end of March 2020.

More than 5.55 billion people worldwide have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, equal to about 72.3 percent of the world population.

Vaccination rates around the world have stagnated in recent months, with public demand dropping even as vaccine supply has become more abundant, reports WHO.

Early leads in vaccination rates have become entrenched. Africa has the lowest vaccination rate of any continent, with just 37.2 percent of the population having received at least one dose of a vaccine, compared to 82.3 percent in Latin America.

Africa’s vaccination coverage remains low, with most countries sitting on thousands of vaccines that are set to go to waste as the shelf life expires.

No one is safe until everyone is safe.
That can only be achieved through prevention.
Vaccination is a tried and tested prevention pillar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *