30% to 40% people hesitant about vaccination due to misinformation: Experts

The government should include specialist health communication agencies for running coordinated behaviour change campaigns and a professionally drafted centralised communication strategy, which should be followed by all stakeholders, said Dr Laharia

ALTHOUGH A large number of people accept vaccines, 30 to 40 per cent people were still hesitant as everyone was inundated with information from the internet, said Dr Chandrakant Laharia, vaccine public policy and health systems expert. Vaccine hesitancy has prevailed since the beginning of polio vaccination, he said during an e-summit organised by HEAL Foundation, Indian Public Health Association, DPU, and Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication (MCNUJC).

Dr Laharia said during Covid-19 times, the reason behind hesitancy was misinformation. The government should include specialist health communication agencies for running coordinated behaviour change campaigns and a professionally drafted centralised communication strategy, which should be followed by all stakeholders, he added.

Prof K G Suresh, vice-chancellor, MCNUJC, said, misinformation spread primarily due to lack of information, but without wrong intent.

Dr Swadeep Srivastava, founder and CEO, HEAL Foundation, said with the support of Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), they would soon start India Health Infodemic Fact-Checking Network (IHIFCN), a forum for healthcare information going out in the public domain, predominantly through social media.

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