Journalists representing different media outfits in Nigeria have on Tuesday commenced a three-day dialogue on the need for routine immunisation and COVID-19 vaccination.
The idea about the dialogue, according to the organisers of the dialogue, is to ensure that no child dies of vaccine-preventable disease including polio and COVID-19.
Jointly organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information, and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the 3-day dialogue sessions will see to increasing knowledge of media on the need for routine vaccination; strengthen alliance and partnership with media; provide media with an additional source of information on COVID-19 to disinformation, misinformation and rumor; enlist media support to build trust and confidence in the safety efficacy and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine; boost vaccine acceptance by publicising vaccine evidence.
Afolasade Adetutu, a Unicef Field Communication Officer and a resource person at the dialogu, said it is expected that at the end of the sessions, participants should also be able to boost vaccine acceptance by publicising vaccination evidence
“Journalists should be able to develop sustainable media work plan to increase demand for the COVID-19 vaccines and promote pharmaceutical/nonpharmaceutical preventive measures.
Dr. Elizabeth Onitolo, UNICEF’s Communication for Development Specialist, spoke on the certification of Nigeria as polio free and the impact on routine immunisation.
The C4D specialists noted that the COVID-19 lockdown had contributed significantly in missed vaccination, which she said might have been responsible for recent outbreak of measles in places like Borno. She also emphasised the need for more media publicity on the need for RI even as she worried that weak RI could lead to return of polio.