Community Development Education Health

ZICHIRe-BC in COVID-19 Vaccines Sensitisation Drive

Walter Chikanya

The Zimbabwe Community Health Intervention Research Behavioural Change (ZICHIRe-BC) Programme is driving a COVID-19 sensitisation drive in Harare and Mashonaland East Provinces.

Speaking to this publication on 10 March 2021 when Zimbabwe had 36,341 confirmed coronaviruses (COVID-19) cases and 1,489 deaths, Mr Walter Chikanya, the Programme Director of ZiCHIRe-BC said as an essential service provider in the fight against COVID-19, his organisation conducted COVID-19 Vaccination (COVAC) sensitisation activities in Harare and Mashonaland east Province.

“The hallmark was to collaborate with government departments and civil societies to eliminate myths and misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccination (COVAC). The information we gave to the communities was hinged on the following: we emphasised that sanitization of hands is not a substitution for handwashing; and underscored the fact that despite taking the COVID-19 vaccine, everyone is still at risk of contracting HIV.

“In this regard, we educated the people that masking-up and social distancing remain mandatory and have to be observed at all cost. The community was also sensitised that at present, only frontline workers only are being vaccinated.

MYTHS and Facts about COVAC

Myth: Once I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I no longer need to wear a mask.
Fact: Masking, handwashing and physical distancing remain necessary in public until a sufficient number of people are immune.

Myth: You can get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
Fact: You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine because it doesn’t contain the live virus.

Myth: Once I receive the vaccine, I will test positive for COVID-19.
Fact: Viral tests used to diagnose COVID-19 check samples from the respiratory system for the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe because it was developed so quickly.
Fact: The authorized vaccines are proven safe and effective.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility in women.
Fact: Misinformation on social media suggests the vaccine trains the body to attack syncytin-1, a protein in the placenta, which could lead to infertility in women.

The sensitised included the untold suffering that came as a result of lockdown restrictions. This can include but not limited to; heightened sexual, physical and emotional abuse, let alone incidences of child marriages and loss of livelihood activities.


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Byron Adonis Mutingwende