Celebs, RWA WhatsApp groups find their place in the Center’s Covid-19 vaccine launch strategy

New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Health on Thursday launched the communication strategy to support the launch of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The 88-page document details information to guide communication activities at the national, state and district levels to enable information about Covid-19 vaccines and the vaccination process to reach all people in all states in the country.

The four key areas that will be addressed as part of the strategy interventions are – providing information on COVID-19 vaccines, addressing vaccine hesitation, building the desire for vaccination, while maintaining and supporting appropriate COVID behaviors.

It also aims to provide information on potential risks and mitigate the unintended crisis during introduction and launch.

“The communication strategy in support of the launch of Covid-19 vaccines in India aims to disseminate timely, accurate and transparent information about the vaccine (s) to alleviate fears about the vaccine, ensure its acceptance and encourage adoption. The strategy will also serve to guide communication activities at the national, state and district levels, so that information about Covid-19 vaccines and the vaccination process reaches all people, from all states in the country, “reads introduction of the document.

Here is how the Center intends to communicate about Covid-19 vaccination:

  • In addition to social media, media, outdoor media, community groups such as gram sabha, the school management committee, the NSS, Scouts and Guides will be connected to disseminate information. Celebrities, politicians, local celebrities, social media influencers will be asked to campaign en masse for vaccination.
  • The ministry will set up a rapid response cell for the national press, which will check the facts about the vaccine news and information.
  • Community WhatsApp groups, such as school / parent groups, RWAs, SHGs, etc. will be identified for sharing official factual and branded messages. “Identify and hire WhatsApp champions from WhatsApp groups (eg school principals, RWA presidents) who can disseminate information and counter misinformation,” the document said.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be approached to reach Indian missions abroad with all relevant information about the vaccination campaign.
  • The ministry has also identified crises that may arise during the vaccination process, which include protests / disturbances due to rumors and misinformation, sudden deaths or reactions AEFI (adverse event after immunization), corporate pressures, educational institutes requesting prioritization etc. In the document, the ministry detailed how to deal with such situations.

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