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Refusal by parents to allow children get Covid-19 vaccine worrying – Mulusa

Solwezi Central Member of Parliament, Stafford Mulusa is worried with the low number of parents consenting to have their children vaccinated against Covid-19.

Mr Mulusa said it is sad that parents are refusing to have their children vaccinated despite having information on the benefits of the vaccine.

He said there is need to redouble efforts especially with the fifth wave eminent as the cold season approaches.

“I went around some schools just to check the situation, I must say it is worrying that some parents are refusing to have their children vaccinated despite having all the information,” Mr Mulusa said.

Mr Mulusa who is also government Chief Whip was speaking in Solwezi yesterday when he opened a Covid-19 vaccination campaign stakeholders meeting.

He said there is need for traditional and civic leaders as influencers and mobilisers to play their role in the campaign by creating demand for the vaccine.

“We need to create demand for the vaccination in our areas as traditional leaders and councillors and ensure that all eligible people get vaccinated, ”Mr Mulusa said.

He said since the re-launch of the vaccination campaign four days ago, over 4,900 people have been vaccinated bringing the total number of vaccinated people to 42,657 in the district.

Meanwhile, Solwezi District Maternal and Child Health Coordinator, Florence Mukoma said there is little ownership of the programme by traditional leaders.

Ms Mukoma said this is making it difficult to penetrate some areas and ensure people get vaccinated.

“One of the challenges we are facing is that there is little or no ownership of the programme by our traditional leaders,” she said.

Ms Mukoma said the fight against Covid-19 should not only be left to the ministry of health alone but that all stakeholders need to come on board.

And traditional leaders have pledged to use their influence to mobilize their subjects and ensure they are vaccinated.

According to Ministry of Health presentation during the meeting, since the roll out of the vaccination campaign in April 2021, 42,657 have so far been vaccinated in Solwezi district which translates into 40 percent of the eligible population.

Meanwhile, Kabompo District Health Promotions Officer, Florence Tembo says myths and misconception over Covid-19 vaccines have remained a challenge among community members during the vaccination campaign period.

Ms. Tembo said most community members believe that one would eventually die once vaccinated after a period of time.

She said the 10 days vaccination campaign has however given stakeholders an opportunity to correct the narrative.

Ms Tembo said this in an interview with ZANIS in Kabompo yesterday during a Covid-19 road show sensitization and mobilisation at Musamba market organised by the health office and its partners.

“The vaccination campaign which has reached day six is going on well as we pursue to reach the 70 percent target of vaccinated people aged 12 years and above.

“However the biggest challenge we have discovered is the myths and misconception that exist around the communities surrounding the Covid-19 vaccines,” she said.

Ms Tembo urged all eligible individuals to get vaccinated as the vaccines are readily available and safe saying vaccination is the only way to protect themselves and families.

She further appealed for all parents and guardians to work with community health assistants who have been sent out in the various wards of the district and quickly give consent for the vaccination of their children.

Meanwhile, speaking in a separate interview, Kabompo District Stakeholders Association Chairperson, Rodgers Chinyemba said that he and other community leaders have equally embarked on sensitization meetings which have so far proved to work.

Mr. Chinyemba said that stakeholders committee members have teamed up with different area ward councillors to deliver the Covid-19 vaccination campaign messages.

“We have equally teamed up with our civic leaders and been moving around their wards to deliver the Covid-19 vaccination campaign messages for children aged 12 years and above,” he said.