COVID-19 vaccination should be voluntary

By Regis Nhumba

The introduction of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines created a hype on social media and mainstream media platforms. For me, social media was my main source of information. However, the flood of information was so contradictory and caused me a lot of confusion.

COVID-19 vaccination programmes is slowly becoming mandatory in Zimbabwe as the government seeks to contain the spread of the deadly virus. Photo: https://www.health.com/

On one hand, I read information from organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) encouraging people to get vaccinated. On the other hand there were anonymous sources, unverifiable experts and activists who were questioning the effectiveness of the vaccines in treating COVID-19.

Initially the Government indicated that the vaccination programme was voluntary and no one was going to be forced to get vaccinated. For me this was good enough. I was not prepared to get vaccinated before I was personally sure about the vaccines.

The main reason why l did not rush to get vaccinated is that my family does not believe in the vaccines. There are religious reasons attached to this.

Initially, some prophets used social media to say that the vaccine contained a chip which was the mark of the devil. There were also rumours that if you get vaccinated, you will die after two years.

The official sources did not carry enough information, especially on some negative effects of the vaccines yet some people developed complications after the injections.

A lot of myths around the vaccine is deterring me and my family from getting vaccinated.

However, the vaccination programmes is now becoming mandatory or forced. The Government is slowly coming up with conditions that will eventually force everyone to get vaccinated.

On July 21, the Government ordered that “all civil servants should be vaccinated and those that fall ill without having been vaccinated will not be entitled to the COVID-19 insurance.” These conditions and many other orders will surely force everyone, including me and my family to get vaccinated.

For now I am focusing on methods of avoiding getting contaminated like wearing a mask, social distancing and staying at home. I just wish the vaccination programme would be more transparent, especially on the likely negative effects of the drugs.

Creative Centre for Communication and Development, Zimbabwe