AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a non-governmental organisation, yesterday, engaged over 40 women in Cross River as champions to curb COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.
The engagement, which took place in Calabar, had women groups from 18 council areas of the state. They included Ekori Women’s League, Ambitious Ladies Foundation, among others.
Although vaccines are available in most healthcare centres, residents have refused to take them for fear of myths, mostly on the social media.
Speaking to the women, Dr. Echey Ijezie, Country Programme Director, AHF Nigeria, country office, said women play key roles at the community level and are highly influential in any form of advocacy and information dissemination. He said despite false information being peddled on social media, COVID-19 was still killing people.
“We decided to bring women together as champions to fight the challenge of vaccine hesitancy and also listen to their fears because the public trust women. We want to ensure we let the people know the importance of getting vaccinated and also assuage their fears, which are mostly myths peddled by uninformed people,” she said.
Mrs Joy Chabo, the state immunisation officer, said the state was targeting 70 per cent vaccination of its residents.
Chabo said, according to data available, only 17 per cent of Cross River’s target population received their first dose of the vaccine while only 11 per cent took the first and second doses.