Home News Misinformation responsible for low uptake of HPV vaccine – UNICEF

Misinformation responsible for low uptake of HPV vaccine – UNICEF

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has attributed low uptake of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines to misinformation.

Mrs Aderonke Akinola-Akinwole, Social and Behaviour Change Specialist, UNICEF, said this on Wednesday at a two-day media dialogue organised for journalists in Lagos.

She said that misinformation and disinformation have continued to militate against the success of the vaccination exercise.

Akinola-Akinwole said this had, however, dissuade people from taking the vaccine.

According to her, the effects of misconceptions about the vaccine can lead to reduction of trust and hesitancy in the uptake.

“If these misconceptions are not addressed, it can lead to total rejection of the vaccine and consequently increase the outbreak of vaccine- preventable diseases and child mortality.

“Some of these rumours and misinformation that people throw around are that the vaccine is meant to depopulate our people.

“Others even say it promotes promiscuity among girls, reduces fertility or that the side effects results in chronic terminal diseases,” she said.

Akinola-Akinwole maintained that to correct these misconceptions, there was need to consistently share success stories of the vaccine efficacy.

This, she said, would go a long way in rebuilding people’s trust in the vaccine.

She therefore, urged journalists to provide correct and consistent information on the scourge of cervical cancer and the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine.

“We need to influence policy makers through advocacy reporting human-centred storytelling to improve demand for HPV vaccine.

“We also need to provide platforms for technical experts to contribute to conversations around promoting behavioural change.

“Do your best to debunk myths, misconceptions and misinformation about the vaccine,” she added.

About 16 out of the 36 states launched the campaign against HPV in October 2023.

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