The government has taken steps to create awareness about the importance of vaccination among parents of newborns across the country, said Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Ashwini Kumar Choubey in Lok Sabha recently. The awareness generation will take place via the following procedures:
- Electronic and print media like radio spots, television, poster, hoardings, etc.
- Inter-personal communication by front line health workers like Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs).
- Utilising social media platforms like Twitter, WhatsApp
- Social mobilisation by ASHAs and other community workers.
- Incentives to ASHAs for mobilising the children to the session site and ensuring their full immunisation at one, two and five years of age.
- Delivering free, audio messages about immunisation directly to mobile phones of the caregivers from the second trimester of pregnancy until the child is one-year old.
- Delivering periodic text messages to caregivers regarding immunisation.
Apart from it, the following steps are taken by the government to address the issue of vaccine hesitancy, public mistrust of vaccines and immunisation services in the country:
- Active social mobilisation is carried out in the states to counter the vaccine hesitancy among high-risk areas and groups. A cadre of skilled and experienced mobilisers of Social Mobilisation Network (SMNET) is deployed in select states to mobilise the communities and address the mistrust, rumours and hesitation regarding vaccination.
- Advocacy with key religious leaders and influencers on the importance of vaccination.
- Advocacy with media to cover positive immunisation stories from the field and success stories for building trust in immunisation and vaccines.
- Mobilising the private practitioners through advocacy with Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP)/Indian Medical Association (IMA) to give out messages on importance of vaccination and on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
- Positive messages to counter rumours, myths and misinformation through social media including Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
The services of ASHA workers are utilized to create awareness about vaccination and establish a line of primary communication between the general public and health workers. They have been capacitated through various platforms to enhance their inter-personal communication skills to establish and strengthen the line of primary communication between public and health workers.
They are also being trained on BRIDGE (Boosting Routine Immunization Demand Generation) module across all states to ensure effective awareness generation and inter-personal communication (IPC) among general public.
ASHA workers also promote awareness about vaccination through regular house-to-house visits in the community and on Village Health and Nutrition Day (VHND).