From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, has decried the fact that the share volume of misinformation especially on vaccines is causing people to lower their guards.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman PTF on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, stated at the media briefing on Thursday.
He said: “This kind of misinformation that will cause our people to lower their guards that when the vaccines are made available they would have developed resistance to vaccination.”
The PTF chairman urged that as the Government is working round the clock to secure a safe and right vaccines for the Country, the Media, Traditional and Religious as well as community leaders to pass the right message to their followers “so that together, we can win this war against this virus.
“To overcome some of these challenges, the PTF will intensify the risk communication and community engagement to create awareness. The share level of doubts about the virus is alarming and I call on every one to become advocates in support of the National Response.”
Mustapha also commended, Nigerian stand-up comedian, Atunyota Akpobome, popularly known as Alibaba, for coming out to share his experience and urged Nigerians to be cautious and keep safe, saying COVID-19 pandemic is real.
Akpobome, who claimed that he just survived the deadly virus, made the call on his verified Instagram page (alibabagcfr) on Monday, also advised Nigerians to desist from describing COVID-19 pandemic as a scam.
But according to SGF, “I saw a clip of popular comedian, Alibaba. That clip has provided answers to several of the misinformation and distortions out there. That clip gives a testimony of his experience and his candid warning to Nigerians about the reality of COVID-19 and the fact that it is not a thing you can take lightly.”
Mustapha also said that the PTF is working to develop new Health Protection Regulations to support existing COVID-19 protocols and to strengthen compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions across the country.
He described as embarrassing the fact that some Nigerians were still presenting fake results when travelling outside the shores of this country.
He said: “It has become embarrassing to note that some Nigerians continue to present fake results when travelling outside the shores of this country. This remains a major source of concern to the Federal Government. The PTF has directed private laboratories to immediately put in place measures to validate results and ensure that all passengers are registered on the travel portal before samples are processed to stop this activity.”
The SGF further stressed that the PTF is aware that the world is at a critical phase of infections. “We are constantly reviewing our strategy to emerging situations especially in risk communication, vaccine hesitancy, fake news/disinformation.
“We call on the general public to remain focused on the drive to reduce the level of infection and make our Country safe again. We urge the Sub-Nationals to enforce relevant measures that will help to curb the effect of this virus on our lives and livelihood.”