By Henry Okonkwo
The Executive Director of, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, has condemned the wave of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and disinformation trending on social media.
The NPHCDA boss said this in a chat with newsmen in Abuja, saying that the claim by some anti-vaccination elements that the COVID-19 vaccine creates a magnetic field around the vaccination site was false.
Shuaib said that the COVID-19 vaccine does not create any magnetic field on any part of the human body, nor can it cause the body to light an electric bulb.
He said, “As you may already be aware, we are witnessing an increasing wave of COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation that should leave any patriotic Nigerian wondering how long mischief-makers want the world to remain in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic itself.
“The creativity with which some people misinform others and spread misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccination calls for more deliberate, decisive, and consistent steps to counter as well as provide correct and accurate information that will help more people to make informed decision to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It is unfortunate that the right of the public to true and accurate information on matters of collective concern is being threatened by just a few others who are taking advantage of social media to mislead people about their health.
“As the country prepares to receive additional vaccine supply to commence phase two of its strategic vaccination plan, our attention has been drawn to, yet another level of disinformation targeted at discouraging people from seeking vaccination against COVID-19,” he said.
“The anti-vaccination elements have come up with a magnetic conspiracy, in which they claim, and are deceiving people with videos, that COVID-19 vaccine creates a magnetic field around the vaccination site and can cause the body to light up an electric bulb.
“As ridiculous as this and other conspiracy theories are, vulnerable people, believe them and are therefore continuing to take the risk of avoiding COVID-19 vaccination.
“Although the people who are manufacturing conspiracy theories about COVID-19 are in the minority, the virulence of the social media increases their reach.
“For this reason, it has become necessary for us to confront the false theorists if we want Nigeria and the world to overcome COVID-19 and recover from its adversities.”