By Augusta Uchediunor
The Nigerian Solidarity Support Fund(NSSF) says it is committed to expanding access to vaccines through building community confidence in vaccination.
Dr Fejiro Chinye- Nwoko , General Manager/CEO NSSF disclosed this in a statement made available on Monday in Lagos.
Chinye-Nwoko said that to accieve the goal of community vaccination, NSSF would be hosting a webinar on Building Community Confidence in Vaccines in June 2023.
She said that the webinar would bring together experts and stakeholders to share insights and strategies for building community confidence in vaccines, tackling vaccine hesitancy, and improving vaccination rates.
According to her, NSSF is not only committed to expanding access to vaccines in Nigeria but also to ensuring that everyone has accurate information and access to vaccines.
“Building community confidence in vaccines is critical to expanding access to vaccines in Nigeria and improving public health outcomes,” Chinye-Nwoko said.
She noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Nigeria, expanding access to vaccines has become a top priority for the government.
She said that, despite. the efforts of health authorities, vaccine hesitancy remains a major obstacle to achieving herd immunity.
‘So, how can we build community confidence in vaccines and overcome this challenge
She said that one of the key drivers of vaccine hesitancy is misinformation.
“Social media and other channels can spread false information about vaccines quickly, leading people to doubt their safety and effectiveness.
” To counter this, it is crucial to provide accurate information about vaccines and their benefits.
“To achieve this, the Nigerian government has been collaborating with local organizations and community leaders to promote accurate information about vaccines.
“This includes public awareness campaigns and targeted outreach to areas with low vaccination rates.
“Health workers have also been trained to provide accurate information about vaccines and answer any questions patients may have,” Chinye-Nwoko said.
She said that another way to build community confidence in vaccines was through community engagement.
The GM said that engaging with local communities and understanding their concerns could help to build trust and increase vaccination rates.
She said that effective community engagement could nvolve working with community leaders to organize vaccination drives, providing education about vaccines in local languages, and addressing any concerns or questions people might
“It is also essential to address any barriers to accessing vaccines that may exist in the community.
“Some people may not have access to transportation to vaccination sites, while others may not be able to take time off work to get vaccinated.
” Addressing these barriers can help to increase vaccination rates and build community confidence in vaccines,” Chinye-Nwoko said.
The CEO said that Nigeria has also made efforts to ensure that vaccines are accessible and affordable for everyone.
She said that the government has provided vaccines for free or at a reduced cost to those who could not afford them.
She said that the effort by government could help to ensure that everyone has access to the benefits of vaccination, regardless of their socio-economic status.
“Finally, it is vital to celebrate the successes of vaccination campaigns and highlight the benefits of vaccination.
“When people see their friends and family members getting vaccinated and experiencing the benefits of vaccination, it can help to build confidence in vaccines and increase vaccination rates,” Chinye-Nwoko added