Need for sustained effort to educate and engage general public about vaccine and vaccination through innovative radio programs stressed
The session was addressed by Shri Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, MoHFW and was attended by over 70 representatives of Community Radio Stations and Private Radio stations from the five states of southern India- Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Shri Lav Agarwal, in his key note address acknowledged the contribution of radio stations in supporting the world’s largest vaccination drive by airing educative programs for their listeners and inspiring stories of HealthCare Workers (HCWs) and community participation in spreading message to follow Covid Appropriate Behaviour. These efforts played a positive role in uptake of vaccination among large number of vaccine eligible population while mitigating any vaccine and vaccination rumours, he added.
He emphasized that radio stations are a critical medium in delivering COVID messages among population residing in urban as well as remote areas. He said that radio plays a constructive role through innovative and engaging programmes to address unfounded concerns of linked to vaccine hesitancy by inviting subject experts on their program.
He urged the participants to highlight community led positive initiatives and role models from the frontline workers across sectors to strengthen public trust in world’s largest adult vaccination programme. He also underlined the need to continuously remind citizens about need to strictly follow COVID Appropriate Behaviour as the second wave is still not over and that virus can come back as soon society ignores COVID safe behaviour.
He also emphasized on the importance of mental wellbeing during COVID and suggested that it is vital to address the issue on a regular basis. He further said that there are three important components of the fight against COVID – Community ownership of COVID Appropriate Behaviour, Evidence Based Reporting and Busting Myths on COVID and vaccination.
He presented a snapshot of the COVID situation in the country and highlighted the status of five states. He highlighted the various initiatives and steps being taken by the Government to strengthen the public health infrastructures.
The participants shared their experiences of innovative radio and talk shows to educate and inspire the listeners. Senior officials of the MoHFW, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, and representatives from UNICEF attended the session.