HomeNewsLukewarm response to COVID-19 vaccine

Lukewarm response to COVID-19 vaccine


The inaugural global virtual conference on lung health began on Tuesday with a new study revealing a potential global hesitancy to accept a COVID-19 vaccine.

By Phyllis Mbanje

In the study, shared on the first day of the 51st Union Tuberculosis Conference, researchers surveyed more than 13 000 people in 19 countries, and found that while 72% said they would be very or somewhat likely to take a COVID-19 vaccine, 14% would refuse and another 14% were hesitant.

This is despite months of pinning all hope on a vaccine that would guarantee prevention against the virulent disease.
Researchers said it would be tragic if a safe and effective vaccine is developed and people refused to take it.

Speaking during presentation of the study, Jeffrey V Lazarus, a researcher and study coordinator said: “We found that the problem of vaccine hesitancy is strongly related with a lack of trust in governments.

“Vaccine confidence was invariably higher in countries where trust was higher.”

Ayman El-Mohandes, co-coordinator of the study added that there was need to increase vaccine confidence, and to improve the public’s understanding of how they could help control the spread of COVID-19 in their families and communities.

In Africa, there has been widespread speculation over making the continent a testing ground.

In April, World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus condemned as “racist” comments by two French doctors who suggested a vaccine for the coronavirus could be tested in Africa.

Meanwhile, former US President Bill Clinton said with the emergence of COVID-19, the conference came at a time TB transmission is increasing, reversing the progress made in recent years.

“We cannot afford to make this devastating setback permanent but instead have an opportunity to reimagine our future, seize the moment and eliminate COVID-19 and TB and improve treatment for all other pulmonary illnesses,” said Clinton.

Ghebreyesus said the world could not allow the pandemic to become an excuse for failing to deliver on the commitments made to end TB, tobacco and air pollution.
“The pandemic will end, but TB, tobacco, air pollution and other lung diseases will continue to steal the breath and life of millions of people every year,” Ghebreyesus
UNAids deputy executive director Shannon Hader spoke of how the conference theme, Advancing Prevention, must be a call to action and that COVID-19 should not be an insurmountable hurdle to progress in preventing TB and HIV.
She called for community-led aggressive investment in the COVID-19, TB, HIV and future pandemics, and global solidarity.

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