The President, Nigerian Medical Association, Professor Innocent Ujah gave the advice in Lagos at the 11th Annual Symposium of the Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN).
The symposium had as its theme; “Building Confidence In COVID-19 Vaccines”, and sub themed: “Addressing COVID-19 Hesitancy In Nigeria: The Role Of The Media.
Professor Ujah, represented by the Deputy Secretary, Nigerian Medical Association by Dr Saliu Oseni, said Nigerians should continuously adhere to preventive measures, noting that research was ongoing to ascertain the degree of protection the vaccines provide against the transmission of the virus.
According to him, there is an urgent need to inoculate more Nigerians against the virus towards increasing immunity quickly.
The NMA president noted that the available vaccines in the country was more than the population, which had been vaccinated, stressing the need to overcome vaccine hesitancy.
Professor Ujah said that vaccine hesitancy was fueled by mistrust, complacency, fear and misinformation, noting that the media have roles to play in educating Nigerians and others on the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine.
He commended Health Writers Association of Nigeria for its efforts in disseminating health messages and dispelling rumours and misinformation about the various Covid-19 vaccines.
On her own part, the President of Health Writers Association of Nigeria, HEWAN, Chioma Obinna said that the choice of the theme was as a result of continued conspiracy theories surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines and the pandemic as a whole.
Obinna said that many Nigerians continue to reject the COVID-19 vaccine out of ignorance or based on unconfirmed stories and information from social media, friends and family members.
“As responsible health journalists, these and more informed the choice of the topic for this year’s symposium,” she said.
Also, the Professor of Virology, Oyewale Tomori called for collaboration between the government and private sector to actualise vaccine production in the country.
Tomori, in his speech titled: “Vaccine Production In Nigeria: The Role Of The Government”, identified the urgent need for government to dismantle bureaucracies, which hinder synergies in vaccine development.
The virologist appealed to government to make facts available to Nigerians and experts to enable them to make decisions as well as bridge mistrust and invest.
Tomori advised Nigerians to consistently maintain all preventive measures and avoid exposure to the Covid-19, adding that those measures would help to curtail the spread of the virus.
Vaccinated Nigerians must observe Covid-19 potocols – HEWAN