How to communicate effectively about the COVID-19 vaccine

One world protected

A nurse registers community members before administering the COVID-19 vaccine
18 March 2021

With the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine in Ghana, we may encounter family members or friends who are hesitant to use this form of prevention against the disease. Vaccine hesitancy is cited as one of the top ten threats to global public health according to the World Health Organization.

What are some of the concerns?

Fear of negative side effects or complications, distrust of the quality of the vaccine and a lack of understanding of the risk of COVID-19 are just some of the concerns that people may have.  In addition, deep-rooted attitudes, beliefs, and personal motivations may also impact a person’s decision to take or not the vaccine.

So how can we communicate on the importance of vaccination with our friends and families and help them to make an evidence-based decision.

  1. Recommend to your family and friends reliable resources of information to find out more about the vaccine. It is important to take time to better understand the immunization and why it has been approved as an effective barrier to contracting COVID-19. Reliable information on the vaccines can be found on the UNICEF Ghana website, the World Health Organisation and the Ghana Health Service website.
  2. Advice from health care professionals as well as community and religious leaders play a significant role in people’s decisions on vaccination and other health issues.
  3. Demonstrate the correct behaviour through your personal example. Think about  the ways of how you can proactively inform people around you about COVID-19 prevention and vaccination.
  4. It’s good to remind people that taking the vaccine isn’t just for them, it’s to protect others who maybe at higher risk – especially the elderly and people with underlying conditions because COVID-19 can be life-threatening for them.
  5. People tend to follow an example of their social environment. Demonstrate that the vast majority of people, or increasingly more are already following the COVID-19 prevention protocols and are in favour of COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 has devastated and upended the lives of many around the world. With the arrival of the new vaccine, there is an opportunity for families to be reunited, children to enjoy a happy and regular school-life and households to enjoy a strengthened economy.  

Let’s work together to combat COVID-19. No one is safe until we’re all safe.