Dr. Harsh Vardhan unveils IEC Campaign to address Vaccine Hesitancy and Misinformation

New Delhi: Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Thursday unveiled IEC posters to address the emerging issue of vaccine hesitancy in some sections of the population in the country in presence of Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, and Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog.

As per the Health Ministry, more than 8 lakh healthcare workers have been vaccinated till 7 am on 21 January.

He said, “India is one of the few countries to halt the march of COVID-19 and simultaneously develop a vaccine for COVID, thanks to the leadership of Prime Minister Modi who bestowed his attention to get the country rid of the pandemic. Today, the country is seeing a steady decline in active cases. Around 15,000 daily new cases were reported yesterday.”

He noted, “The elimination of Polio and Smallpox was made possible by large scale immunization. Once immunized, not only that person is not capable of catching the disease, he/she is also unable to transmit the disease to others thus passing on the social benefit to the larger society he/she interacts with. This was also the logic of undertaking mass immunization of women and children against the twelve diseases under Mission Indradhanush. Vaccination against COVID will similarly create persons incapable of transmitting the disease and eradicate the disease sometimes.”

Dr. Harsh Vardhan urged everyone to counter the vested campaigns of untruth and misinformation. “Let us put a STOP to these falsehoods,” he said.

He appealed to people to seek the correct information from credible and authentic sources such as the Health Ministry, PIB, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, MyGov website, etc. He reiterated that “Truth is powerful and shall prevail.” And encouraged everyone to share the IEC posters to multiply the virtuous cycle of truth.

Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, Vandana Gurnani, Additional Secretary and MD, NHM, Manohar Agnani, Additional Secretary (Health), Dr. Sunil Kumar, DGHS, MoHFW, and other senior officials were present at the event.

He further said, “All eminent doctors of well-known hospitals have taken the vaccine and praised the exercise for its desired end. It is only a handful of vested political interests who are interested in spreading rumors and encouraging vaccine hesitancy among those vulnerable to such propaganda in the population. The paradox is that countries across the globe are asking us for access to the vaccines while a section of our own is fomenting misinformation and doubt for narrow political ends.”

Dr. Balram Bhargava, DG, ICMR, Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, Dr. N N Mathur, Director LHMC, Dr. S. V. Arya, MS, Safdarjung Hospital, Dr. Rana A. K. Singh, MS, RML Hospital and representatives of development partners like BMGF, UNICEF and WHO attended the event virtually.