Once again in a desperate move to cause anarchy and pandemonium in Zimbabwe an audio which featured Mr Simba Chikanza and an i identified male made rounds.
The audio was celebrating the deaths of Zimbabwean government ministers accusing them for having taken a vaccine in their circle. The vaccine is said to have had side effects which instantly killed ten officials of the Zimbabwean government.
The first irresponsibility was to circulate such an audio without verifying with the government.
The only proof was an alleged confession by the minister of defence who was recorded in grief filled treachery and it was the words of a grieving old lady which are being spanned into a campaigning tool against the COVID Vaccine.
But the true reason for circulating that audio was to portray the Zimbabwean government as being led by selfish inconsiderate big heads.
This behaviour has far reaching consequences as it gives people wrong information and create a mistrust and lack of confidence in the Vaccine.
Considering the number of people dying from Covid this audio is malicious irresponsible demonic and cruel. Without identifying the lunatic who was puking blue lies showed that the person was not talking from the point of Knowlledge.
Rumours and fake news are deterring some people from African communities from getting the Covid-19 vaccine. And this audio gives innocent people wrong and fake information.
The giver of the information and the receiver acted in common purpose. So by spreading it around many became accomplices after the act. All this done in a vain need to vilify Zimbabwe.
A rise in videos, viral messages and other fake news has seen unsubstantiated claims that the vaccines contain animal products including beef or pork, as well as alcohol, which are prohibited and unsuitable for people of some faiths.
This was fuelled by this audio which was targeting Zimbabweans and planting fear into their hearts thereby shaking the little confidence which might have been left. But to what end. This is very sad and unfortunate.
The rumours, which have also spread through word-of-mouth, have led to some Zimbabweans refusing the vaccine while in UK and other parts of the world.
This unfortunate audio made people believe that vaccines provoke anxiety, perceptions of risk and rumours.
Vaccines are regulated— and sometimes mandated— by government, resisted by those who feel their personal freedoms are imposed on.
They are also produced by the pharmaceutical industry, which – even in their most generous and humanity-driven moments – aim to generate profit, provoking public concerns about their motives. All this, is the challenging context for a health intervention that has proven decades of success in saving millions of lives and preventing disease and disability.
At a number of potential vaccines for Covid-19 now imminent, there are increasing concerns that misinformation online could turn some people against being immunized. Thus the people of Zimbabwe must frown at this audio.
Firstly there is no vaccine in Zimbabwe yet and thus no one has been given a vaccine jab in Zimbabwe. So the lies tabulated in that audio are dangerous and meant to kill millions of our people.
Up to now no one understands the aim behind such lies.
Secondly if one looks at the officials who have passed on they did not form a clique which might suggest that they are so senior as to be favoured to get the jab.
Half of the deceased had retired and therefore it does not make any sense why they would be favoured and offered a jab ahead of every Zimbabwean even ahead of the president himself.
So the audio showed that the idiot behind the phone is a master of conspiracy theories.
Again the audio does not explain the deaths of other none ZANU PF members. It is a shame that we get at a level of posting anything without weighing the consequences of such gross misrepresentations.
As we speak there is no consignment of vaccines delivered in Zimbabwe.
The vaccine from Pfizer and from China both need storage of below minus 75 degrees Celsius. So where would that be stored in Zimbabwe.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the world’s not only fighting the pandemic, but also what it calls an “infodemic” – where an overload of information, some of it false, makes it difficult for people to make decisions about their health.
And it’s trying to answer people’s concerns about the vaccines – as well as helping people evaluate the information they see on social media .
After that audio of shame many Zimbabwean are no longer willing to get the jab. Their views are partly coloured by what they see on social media, and from this audio.
There are quite a lot of opinions flying around on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. I think people are very easily influenced by such audios. Journalists do know the power of media and the speed fake news travel.
Oscar Hodgson, a trainee solicitor who is taking part in a coronavirus vaccine trial at Imperial College London, says: “It’s often very difficult with the amount of information that we are being bombarded with to make sense of what you should be doing.”
But he adds: “I think a vaccine is one of the only ways out of the situation if we want to get away from endless lockdowns and curfews.”
Researchers have moved at record speed to develop vaccines, less than a year in to this pandemic, but the evil actions and reasons transported by that audio pours water in the good efforts done by the researchers.
The problem of politicising the vaccine is that it kills millions. It is genocide and its painful that it is perpetrated by people who should know better.
The WHO is monitoring data from more than 200 vaccine trials said.
“There are now several types of vaccine in the pipeline based on different technologies,” says Dr Sylvie Briand, the WHO’s director of pandemic and epidemic diseases.
They are going through the same safety tests as vaccines already used all around the world.
“It’s very expensive to do these phase three (human) trials. But many countries have come together to pay for it,” Dr Briand says. “When you have enough funds the process can go much faster.”
There are three key reasons it’s been possible to develop coronavirus vaccines so quickly:
New technologies which were being developed before Covid struck have been used to speed up the process
Billions of dollars have been ploughed into vaccine research. Securing funding can take years.
Finding ways to fight Covid-19 has been a top priority for every government around the world
Part of the problem, is that information about this pandemic has been coming out in dribs and drabs, as scientists make new discoveries about the virus and how best to manage it.
This, researchers say, has created space for misinformation to thrive.
“People are looking for information, and they’re confronted with this confusing mix of some credible information, and then a lot of other very questioning, undermining or outright wrong information.”
says Prof Heidi Larson who runs the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
This is true considering what has been done by the audio which is not based on facts or truth.
We as Zimbabweans must be very concerned about the impact misinformation is having on people’s intention to take coronavirus vaccines.
Zimbabweans are facing a deadly virus and an onslaught by misinformation. We must learn to identify inaccurate information online. World Health Organisation has identified the following boxes to tick.
Assessing the source – who shared the info and where did they get it from?
Go beyond the headline – it may be intentionally sensational
Identify the author – search their name online to see if they are real/ credible
Check the date – is the info up to date and relevant to current events?
Look for supporting evidence – do they have facts to back up their claims?
Check your own biases – could they affect you judgement on what’s trustworthy?
The behaviour of some social media activists is appalling. It destroys people with doubt
“And one of the big anxieties is safety. So we can talk about the safety processes and the fact that those tried and tested processes are being followed carefully, with shortcuts in other parts of the long development process.”
WHO and governments around the world, are working with some of the big tech companies to try and combat misinformation.
Facebook – which owns Instagram and WhatsApp – says it removes information that could lead to “immediate harm”, including false claims about cures for Covid-19.
It also says it’s banned ads that discourage people from getting vaccines, and reduced the number of people who see vaccine hoaxes.
But, it’s still pretty easy to come across misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines online, and to share those posts.
“We need to focus on building resilience, and filling that space” said Prof Larson.
“You can’t just take away pieces of misinformation without providing some alternative.”
Zimbabwe is under attack and what is being done by our fellow citizens is tantamount to witchcraft. People need to grow up. We should remember that the death of every one reported COVID patient there are two hundred unreported. Can you imagine how many people you are killing by spreading wrong unverified damaging and wounding audios. God have mercy on us all.