The Union Health Ministry recently detailed how information about the Covid-19 vaccine would be disseminated across the country. The communication strategy seeks to “disseminate timely, accurate and transparent information about the vaccine(s) to alleviate apprehensions about the vaccine, ensure its acceptance and encourage uptake.” This strategy would be followed on a national, state and district level to ensure that the information is accessible to everyone.
Through accessible and timely information, the government seeks to tackle three major issues – vaccine hesitancy, vaccine eagerness and crises arising from AEFI (Adverse Event Following Immunization).
According to WHO, vaccine hesitancy is the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccine services. In 2019, WHO listed it as among the top ten threats to global health. In India, doubts about the vaccine’s efficacy are a significant reason for hesitancy. A section of the population even thinks that it does not require the vaccine.
To tackle this, the government seeks to disseminate information about everything from registering for the vaccine to post-vaccination support. After identifying vaccine hesitant groups, the government seeks to engage “influences” within them and also use digital media to spread information.
Vaccine Eagerness and crises from AEFI
It is evident that the majority of the population is eager to resume a normal life. Given this fact, many might want to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The government seeks to make people understand why certain age and occupation-specific groups need to be vaccinated first.
To effectively deal with AEFI, the government will set up a crisis communication group at the national level and its core team will be integrated with the NMRRC.
The government will engage doctors, healthcare workers, parliamentarians, ministries an private and public sector companies to publicize vaccination. Besides, media spokespersons will also be trained at the district and state level.
Sources: The Print
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