Prime Minister Hubert Minnis is calling on Bahamians to ignore the misinformation disseminated on social media about the vaccine.
“As we embark on our vaccination campaign it is important that you reject the large amount of fake news and misinformation circulating on social media and the Internet,” he said on Sunday.
Why it matters
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, conspiracy theories have swirled on social media by anti-vaccine social media users.
The big picture
The Bahamas is set to receive its first batch of 100,000 doses of Astra-Zeneca vaccine. Some Bahamians have determined not to be vaccinated, eroding trust in vaccines and the health system.
What he says
With assurance in the country’s vaccine rollout, Minnis said, “Let me state again that we are using World Health Organization-approved vaccines. These vaccines are safe and they are already being administered in various countries around the world.
“Please get your information about vaccines from reliable local and international scientific and media sources. Do not read or listen to random, unsourced material from people you do not know. Do not listen to random videos random people created. Do not read and believe random posts from people with no medical or scientific credentials.”
He continued, “Malicious actors are deliberately creating and circulating lies and foolishness designed to scare you from taking vaccines. These lies and misinformation are dangerous. They create unnecessary doubt and fear, causing some to reject vaccines and others to delay taking them. As a doctor let me say that not taking or delaying taking a safe vaccine could cost you your life or cause you to get very sick.
“Do not put your life at risk because you believed fake news on social media.
“Encourage your family and friends to get vaccinated when it is their time. If you have a question, check a reputable news or information source or ask your healthcare provider.
“Vaccines will help lead us to better times. They will help end the pandemic if a large number of us take them. If we believe the fake news and the lies being told about vaccines, this pandemic will last much longer than it needs to,” he said.