Working closely with states to address vaccine hesitancy: Govt

The government of India has been supporting the efforts of states and UTs for an effective vaccination drive under the 'Whole of Government' approach since January 16 this year, Union Health Ministry said.

People wait for their turn to be administered COVISHIELD vaccine at a government hospital in Hyderabad, India, Monday, April 12, 2021. (AP Photo)

Amid media reports alleging ‘vaccine hesitancy’ among health workers in rural areas, the Union Health Ministry on Friday said it is working closely with states and union territories to address the issue.

The government of India has been supporting the efforts of states and UTs for an effective vaccination drive under the ‘Whole of Government’ approach since January 16 this year, it said.

There have been certain media reports alleging ‘vaccine hesitancy’ in rural areas among health workers, the ministry stated.”It is informed that vaccine hesitancy is a globally accepted phenomenon and should be addressed by scientifically studying and addressing the issue at the community level,” Ministry said in a statement.

Keeping this in mind, a ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Strategy’ covering details on vaccine hesitancy was shared with all states and UTs at the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccination drive.

This strategy was also shared with mission directors of the National Health Missions of all states on January 25 as part of the orientation of state immunisation and IEC officers on COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Strategy.

All states and UTs are following the same and adopting the strategy as per the local requirement, the statement said.

Several IEC materials and prototypes for all media print, social and electronic have been prepared and shared with the states for suitable adaptation at their level.

The Union Ministry of Health is working closely with all states and UTs in addressing the issue of vaccine hesitancy on a regular basis.

Further, it has communicated to all states and UTs to create awareness in tribal communities through IEC materials on COVID-19 vaccines and COVID appropriate behaviour, the statement added.

The ministry is also working in close coordination with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in this regard, it stated.

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