Secretary Department of Science & Technology (DST) Prof Ashutosh Sharma launched a multipronged nationwide mass awareness campaign on April 6 with information packages to bust myths about COVID 19 vaccination in 11 languages, including English and Hindi, make the immunization programme successful.
The COVID-19 vaccination awareness campaign organized by Indian National Young Academy of Sciences (INYAS) will be carried out through COVACNEWS android-based mobile app made by INYAS for ensuring information at the fingertips. A pan-India info-graphic video and audio competition with motivation to transform information into better readable and effective formats is also being organised along with the GYAN TEEKA webinar series dedicated to increase awareness about vaccines through eminent speakers and open statement on COVID-19 vaccination.
The entries of the competition will be utilized to increase vaccine awareness by INYAS, and these competitions will be judged in three groups – school, college and professional.
Launching the campaign, the DST Secretary highlighted the role of science communication in the present situation when the whole world is fighting against COVID-19.
“Lessons of past pandemics show that the second wave of any pandemic is a norm, and we cannot let our guard down at any stage. Communicating with the masses becomes very important in such a situation. It is our responsibility to tell people in simple ways that will appeal to them psychologically. Our target is to reach out to the grassroots, rural population and focus on things which are relevant”, Professor Sharma pointed out.
Applauding the efforts of scientists, President, Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Prof Chandrima Saha said, “Scientists have done a commendable job in this testing time. India is leading the worldwide vaccination programme. Now, the involvement of society is required for successful vaccination throughout the country. Vaccines can help the body fight the disease and create herd immunity. However, for this, a large population needs to be vaccinated,” she pointed out.
“We believe that as a young body of responsible scientists and engineers, it is our duty to participate in making people aware about the benefits of immunization through vaccines and abolish the myths which are deterring people from taking the shots,” said Chandra S Sharma, Chair INYAS.
The speakers stressed that vaccination of such a large population in such a short period of time is extremely challenging, and thus cooperation between government and public is extremely important to enable the execution of this daunting task.