UNA Georgia in partnership with NCDC started the information campaign within the "Communicate to Vaccinateā€¯ Project

2021-12-27

All countries around the world have developed response plans to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the challenges presented by the disease require constant learning and adaptation. It is increasingly necessary to strengthen the risk communication component as an essential tool for providing the population with all of the necessary information about the immunization process. This ranges from clinical trials and the production of new vaccines to the introduction, distribution, and prioritization of groups that need one or more vaccines—according to each country’s definitions and vaccine availability.

After the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccines and subsequent rollout, there has been an infodemic of misinformation circulating about COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy, reducing public trust in getting vaccinated. The efficient communication with the public play a critical role in providing vital health information to global audiences.

Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease. High rates of successful vaccinations can help us overcome this global health challenge of COVID-19 pandemic. However, this is threatened by infodemic, misinformation and disinformation. The global vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is an unprecedented operation that is also met with a loud response from anti-vaccine communities currently using all available channels to manipulate public opinion.

The strategies commonly used by anti-vaxxers to create misinformation against COVID-19 vaccination campaign include creating conspiracy theories, promoting fake experts, disseminating false logic, promoting unrealistic expectations and misrepresentation of facts.

The project aimed at positive narrative formation towards vaccines and a tangible change in public behavior among the targeted rural populations.

The Objectives of the project were:

1. To engage local communities in 30 large rural areas in a participatory dialogue with field experts, medical personnel, celebrities, local government representatives, NCDC staff and management, and other trusted professionals.

2. Promote increased confidence in vaccines, recommendations of the public health system, and increased vaccine uptake in targeted locations.

In this emergency response, UNA Georgia and NCDC teamed up and implemented a comprehensive,

participatory, human rights-based communication and community engagement campaign across Georgia,

targeting the rural areas of Georgia that are usually overlooked by the urban-centric communication and

community engagement efforts.

3. Target Groups of the project were community leaders and activists – including youth, adults, and the elderly – in the five regions of Georgia (Adjara,Samegrelo, Imereti, Kvemo Kartli, and Kakheti).

The project activities included:

  •  Interactive communication events at municipality/village levels for local population to provide information, address concerns, and support the vaccination process.

  •  “Vaccinate here and now” call to action where possible, as on-spot vaccination were available by NCDC support.

  •  Online communication campaign, promoting the project / vaccination process through promotional videos, photo stories and articles produced from select events and deployed through social media for wider visibility and communication.

Vaccination Marathon “EACH OTHER SAKE“
Under the initiative of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health and the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs successfully launched a vaccination marathon across Georgia on October 18 with the main message – the vaccination is the right choice for saving lives of our children, parents, friends and relatives. The campaign was implemented countrywide in about 50 villages by the end of October. The goal of the Marathon was to provide audience the reliable and qualified information from leading specialists in the field, and if desired, they had the opportunity to get vaccinated on the spot. The project was supported by the World Health Organization, the EU and UN Delegation to Georgia, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The project Communicate to Vaccinate was the supporting initiative of the Vaccination Marathon, in order to broaden the target regions/societies and combat Anti-Vaccination narrative and disinformation.

UNA Georgia in partnership with NCDC started the information campaign within the “Communicate to Vaccinate” Project, with the financial support of WHO and EU. The goal of the campaign was to raise public awareness about vaccination against COVID-19 and to popularize the importance of vaccination in the fight against pandemic. In addition, the meetings included discussions on propaganda, misinformation and fake news on vaccines and their efficacy and side effects.

During two-months campaign 41 meetings were organized across 50 remote villages and municipalities, engaging up to 1050 beneficiaries, including teachers, youth, parents, and local community leaders.