A medic inside the national capital's first COVID-19 vaccination centre, at Srinivaspuri area in New Delhi.(PTI)
A medic inside the national capital's first COVID-19 vaccination centre, at Srinivaspuri area in New Delhi.(PTI)

Centre releases Covid-19 vaccine rollout strategy; celebrities, RWA WhatsApp groups part of plan

In the document, the Centre has laid down strategies on how to deal with vaccine eagerness and vaccine hesitancy.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
UPDATED ON DEC 31, 2020 05:54 PM IST

The Union health ministry has released an 88-page document detailing how information about Covid-19 vaccine will be disseminated to all people, across all states in the country. “The communication strategy that supports the Covid-19 vaccines roll-out 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. The strategy will also serve to guide national, state and district level communication activities, so that the information on the Covid-19 vaccines and vaccination process reaches all people, across all states in the country,” the introduction of the document read.

The ministry has also identified two kinds of behaviour natural as the vaccines are coming: vaccine eagerness where people can’t wait to get back to their normal life. and vaccine hesitancy where people who are eligible for vaccination in the first phase may feel reluctant. Though getting vaccinated is optional, as told by the ministry earlier, there should be correct knowledge and awareness, the document emphasises.

Here is how Centre plans to communicate about Covid-19 vaccination:

> Apart from social media, mass media, outdoor media, community groups like gram sabha, school management committee, NSS, Scouts and Guides will be roped in for dissemination of information. Celebrities, politicians, local celebrities, social media influencers will be asked to campaign massively for vaccination.

> The ministry has also set up a National Media Rapid Response Cell which will do fact checking of vaccine-related news and information.

> Community WhatsApp groups like that of school/parent groups, RWAs, SHGs etc. will be identified for sharing of factual and official branded messages.

> The ministry of external affairs will be approached to reach out to Indian Missions abroad with all relevant information on the vaccination campaign.

> The ministry has also identified the crises which may emerge during vaccination drive, which includes protests/unrest as a result of rumours and misinformation, sudden AEFI (adverse event following immunisation) deaths or reactions, pressure from corporates, education institutes asking for prioritisation etc. In the document, the ministry has detailed how to address such situations.

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