DRC: Myths and Fears of Vaccination In the Country

Dr. Rodin Nzembuni Nduku and Dr. Christian Mayala share words regarding their father’s health by sitting together at Kinshasa’s Mama Yemo hospital in DRC.

Noel Kalouda defeats the virus weeks before lying again in the hospital bed, face covered with an oxygen mask. 

However, all these three men, also two of the brothers of them had the medical knowledge, preferred not to get the vaccination. The vaccines were available in the capital of DR Congo. Still, these three men did not get vaccination due to the spreading rumors about the only jab available, the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

What are the Rumors?

Several fakes effects are spreading on social media, which demotivate the citizens from getting the vaccination.  

Once there was a post that a guy lost his life right after the 20 hours of the vaccination. 

People were receiving messages from churches the creation of covid is only meant to wipe off the race of Africans. Some of the churches are saying that covid isn’t real. 

Over 86,000 doses are offered, which is sufficient for the vaccination of 0.1% of the country’s population, i.e., 90 million. 

There are many issues while getting vaccines, such as shortages and delivery in far-flung areas, so if any distrust happens of pharmaceutical products, it will make it more difficult to fight against this global pandemic. 

And if it goes on, it will be very distressful for the DRC in the upcoming months. 

Read More: DR Congo: Rise in covid cases of third wave and hesitation about vaccination.

What is the Bad News for drc?

According to the study conducted by Prof Pascal Lutumba of the University of Kinshasa’s department of infectious diseases, if Congo fails to get the complete vaccination soon, its delta variant may be possible get reunites with the South African variant. And if this happens, then the virus could mutate to a more deadly variant that vaccines will not cure at present.

This will be the same as happened in the UK, which was having high vaccination rates. Due to any such occurrence, the country will shift to the initial position where they were earlier. And then, there will be the necessity for new vaccines to start over. 

Infection Rate in drc

And currently, what WHO figures say is that more than 79% of infections are sequence in DRC due to delta variant. 

And recently, on August 4, there 50,529 news cases and 1,045 Covid deaths are reported. 

Even not just that. According to the Vice President, almost 32 MPs have lost their lives in May, which is about 5% of the total. 

Last month the president Félix Tshisekedi himself didn’t get the jab. 

He was saying that they were ready to start the vaccination campaign. But they took their steps back by seeing the misleading information about the vaccine on social media. 

But both Muyembe-Tamfum and Félix Tshisekedi are promising to get the vaccination this month after the arrival of new vaccines other than AstraZeneca. 

What is the real challenge for now?

The DRC is almost the size of western Europe, with 3000 km of paved roads covered with enormous forests and divided by large rivers with poor infrastructure. And this makes the trouble while delivering the vaccines. 

Last year, during August-December, the DRC willingness rates of covid vaccines were the lowest among the 15 countries. 

According to the World Bank, in 2018 during the Ebola outbreak, more than 2,200 people lost their lived due to it. And merely the reason for this was the lack of communication with people and communities in the country. 

Healthcare workers state that the government failed to note the severity of the virus and the importance of vaccines, which ultimately let the rumors spread. 

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