The long awaited first batch of Covid-19 vaccines has arrived in Malaysia and the first group of people (i.e. front liners) are receiving it first.
Though, convincing everyone to get vaccinated remains an issue as many have concern over the side effects of the vaccine.
Lately social media such as Facebook and Twitter, are filled with full of anti-vaccine posts as the official start of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme got closer.
Heeded there is an uptick in anti-vaccination chatter once the first Covid-19 vaccine was approved.
What’s alarming is many targeting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which utilises the new m-RNA technology, range from the ridiculous. There were sayings of the m-RNA vaccine will change your DNA and/or has a 5G chip that will control you – to the reasonable – vaccines usually take a long time to approve so can we trust something that came out within a year?
As for concerns over the speed of the Covid-19 vaccine approval versus previous vaccines, experts say the conditions under which the previous vaccines were developed were different.
Reason was that previous vaccines did not deal with an active and contagious affecting almost all countries at the same time.
Furthermore, due to the numbers of volunteer who take part in the Covid-19 study, it was easy to find people as it is affecting the whole world.
Moreover, sharing of information between scientists and researchers in real-time and concurrent clinical trials have contributed to the vaccine development which also helped to escalate things.
Rest assured, vaccine-makers are following proper procedures for testing the vaccines to develop it 10 times faster. The vaccine also protect as many people as possible before the mutations render the vaccines ineffective.
However, convincing people to do what is good for them and their loved ones may not be easy. Family members and caregivers were hesitant about vaccinating the elderly due to senior citizens are the ones most likely to suffer and die from Covid-19.
Part of the fear is due to reports of deaths among people who had received their vaccine, during trials and after they have been vaccinated. Subsequent investigations found all deaths were coincidental and not caused by the vaccine.
Global market research company IPSOS suggests vaccine messaging playing on people’s moral responsibility and stresses the safety of the jabs, among others. And there is plenty of data to back that up.
Almost every day, there are studies published finding vaccinations have reduced transmission and hospitalisation rates and lowered death rates.
But the vaccine messaging should not just be playing on civic responsibility and the importance of protecting the community.
While fact-checking and educating the masses on the science behind the vaccine, focusing on the benefits of immunisation should be part of the public health messaging to increase participation.