Clearing the vaccine doubt

Possibly the highly anticipated Covid-19 vaccination programme could begin from March 18 and there is already doubts making rounds that the vaccine may have serious side effects.

Social stigma in the context of health is the negative association between a person or group of people who share certain characteristics and a specific disease. For the successful result, social stigma of public should be cleared before the nationwide vaccination.

In an outbreak, and in fully unconfirmed direct vaccine for the disease, this may mean people are scared and distrust. Such stigma can negatively affect the vaccination program. People who hear the story of few fatalities from other countries with similar diseases, sharing other characteristics with this group may also suffer from stigma.

Never failed in service deliberation, the ministry of health has a depth of experience and capacity for transforming narratives of stigma to resilience.  There is overarching strategies to address stigma. Although each recommendation must be contextualized to the country and community, all prioritize a genuine, to the bottom level, there will be community engagement strategies tested and strengthened over coming days.

The ministry has begun planning the vaccination strategy six months ago, exploring the country’s cold storage capacity and transportation mediums to reach the vaccines across the country.

During the press brief, the health minister said that the awareness programs for the public were already underway.

The health ministry has categorised strategies in two stages. In the preparatory stage, registration for the vaccine and other logistical arrangements would be conducted.

In the second stage, the nationwide vaccination programme would rollout for all the eligible population.

In line with the strategy, on February 21, the health ministry launched the online registration portal to allow registration for people above the age of 15. As of report of Friday, over 63,000 people had registered on the portal.

Again to enhance the ministry’s preparedness, a training of trainers for the health workers to monitor any adverse reactions and possible side effects will begin next month.

The ministry is convincing people that AstraZeneca vaccine had an efficacy rate of 70 percent, in order to achieve herd immunity and it is wise to vaccinate the entire eligible population at a time.

The health minister says by getting vaccinated, it not only protects yourself but the whole community. Lyonchhen says Covid-19 vaccine is no different from other vaccines and it is one of the easiest vaccines to be administered.

Lyonchhen also assured that the vaccine was safe citing global vaccination over 100 million people with no major risks reported so far.

The government has to do more to clear this air.