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Health Ministry Releases Communication Strategy To Support COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

The 88-page document details information to guide national, state and district level communication activities to enable information about COVID-19 vaccines

Health Ministry Releases Communication Strategy To Support COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
Highlights
  • All states and UTs will start dry run for COVID-19 vaccine from January 2
  • One or more vaccine may get regulatory approval in early 2021: Centre
  • The communication strategy will address vaccine hesitancy in people: Centre

New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry on Thursday (December 31) released a communication strategy to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in India that seeks to disseminate accurate and transparent information by alleviating apprehensions and ensuring its acceptance. The 88-page document details information to guide national, state and district level communication activities to enable information about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination process reaches all people, across all states in the country.

Also Read: Dry Run For COVID-19 Vaccination In All States, Union Territories On January 2

The communication strategy that supports the COVID-19 vaccines rollout in India seeks to disseminate timely, accurate and transparent information about the vaccine(s) to alleviate apprehensions about the vaccine, ensure its acceptance and encourage uptake, it said.

According to the document, the strategy aims at managing and mitigating any potential disappointment expressed by unmet demand for the vaccine or ‘eagerness’ amongst people and addressing vaccine ‘hesitancy’ that could arise because of apprehensions around vaccine safety, efficacy apart from any other myths and misconceptions. It also aims to provide information on potential risks and mitigate unintended crisis during the introduction and rollout.

The strategy also seeks to build trust and enable greater confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine amongst all people by employing transparency in communication, while also managing any mis/disinformation and rumours around it, it said.

The Health Ministry intends to achieve this in three ways. Firstly, using the social influence or endorsements from experts and official voices to spell out the process of immunisation (where, how, who, when – date and time); emphasise on the safety and efficacy of vaccines and explain the decision to conduct the drive in a phased manner.

Secondly, the ministry intends to establish a National Media Rapid Response Cell (NMRRC) under its ambit to ensure preparedness through media monitoring and social listening to respond in real-time. It will also unfold media and public discourse through extensive monitoring of print, electronic and digital media.

Also Read: Sufficient Immunisation To Stop COVID-19 Spread Could Take 6 Months, Says AIIMS Director As India Gets Vaccine Ready

Thirdly, this will be achieved by involving community mobilisers and frontline workers to engage with the community at various levels through community consultations, faith leaders and religious meetings, engaging youth, civil-society organisations, self-help groups, panchayats and other community-based platforms.

The four key areas that will be addressed as part of interventions under the strategy are — giving information on COVID-19 vaccines, addressing vaccine hesitancy, building vaccine eagerness along with maintaining and sustaining COVID appropriate behaviours. In case of any adverse effects following immunisation (AEFI), the strategy emphasises on supporting the mobilisers and health workforce in managing crisis situations by appealing to the community to stay calm while waiting for a proper diagnosis and prevent aggressive behaviour against health workers.

Also Read: Yearender 2020: 10 Health And Sanitation Lessons From 2020 Experts Advise To Take In To 2021

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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