Misinformation and Misconceptions About COVID-19 Vaccination in Pakistan: The Need to Control Infodemic
AbstractA unprecedented global public health and economic disaster have emerged from the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 causal agent. The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled the outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The spread of this infectious disease has created a humanitarian and economic crisis throughout the world. Vaccination has been shown to be effective in preventing such pandemics 1. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, researchers developed COVID-19 vaccines in record time with the assistance of pharmaceutical industries. By December 2020, many candidate vaccines had demonstrated safety and efficacy in phase III trials, with efficacy rates as high as 95%. The public's acceptance of vaccination is critical to the success of any immunization program2. Public suspicion about vaccines reduces their acceptance rate. It is well known that conspiracy theories and religious beliefs are linked to vaccine hesitation. During the 2009 pandemic, studies revealed low vaccine acceptance rates (17–67%)2,3,4. Contrary to developed countries, developing countries' vaccination refusal and hesitancy is more common, as preventable diseases like polio persist5. Vaccine hesitancy is one of the top ten global health threats in 2019, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)6,7.
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