Attitudes towards Covid-19 being assessed
Misinformation an enemy
28 August 2021 | Ministries
Anett Kötting; Hotel Zum Kaiser; “Fear and anxiety have overwhelmed people…”
The minister of information and communication technology, Dr. Peya Mushelenga, says his ministry is faced by several challenges when it comes to providing accurate information about Covid-19 and the pandemic.
The minister recently visited vaccination sites at the coast to assess the overall attitude of residents to Covid-19 and vaccination.
“I will present my findings to parliament and make suggestions on the materials and platforms we can use to reach the people,” he explained.
Slowly but surely
Dr. Leonard Kabongo provided insight on the number of vaccinated people in the region to the minister.
“The Erongo region aims to vaccinate 121 682 individuals to reach herd immunity, but currently an estimate of 20 000 persons have received a first dose and roughly half of those have received a second of the Covid vaccine. We have been vaccinating between 80 and 100 people per day since we started the vaccination campaign,” he said.
Miss Namibia 2021, Chelsi Shikongo, has been very public about her Covid-19 vaccination process in the hope of setting an example for others. However, she expressed her concern over fake news.
“Maybe we can lead people to an accredited website where they can find real information,” she suggested.
Shikongo in past admitted that prior to being vaccinated she was also a victim of fake news.
“I was so scared but later I found accredited websites with accredited information and decided that getting the vaccine was the right thing to do.”
Lewies Vermaak, the mayor of Henties Bay, also highlighted the issue of fake news on social media and thanked government for the efforts made in curbing the Covid-19 pandemic.
A representative of the hospitality industry in Erongo region, Anett Kötting, suggested that officials at vaccination sites could provide more detail on the possible side effects of the vaccine and the course of action to take if individuals experience side effects.
“Fear and anxiety have overwhelmed people and I think we can help by giving them proper information,” she said.
Paul Ndjambula, a representative of the business sector, proposed that the social media platform WhatsApp be used as part of the information campaign.
“We need to produce short clips no longer than a minute or two of accredited doctors giving people accurate information,” he said.
First to be vaccinated
Dr. Mushelenga prides himself on being the first member of parliament to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Despite his vaccination status, the minister contracted Covid-19.
“I did not have any symptoms and felt fine. When I was tested, my results returned positive. I just had a slight headache, but I did not know I was infected. So, I can speak from experience about how effective the vaccination is,” he said of his Covid-19 experience.
The minister thanked frontline workers who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to save lives as well as the media and business community for their continuous efforts in the fight against Covid.