Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in partnership with UNICEF, today, hosted an orientation cum interaction session for officers and field reporters from PIB, BOC, DD and AIR on the need to create awareness on the importance of COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) and sustained effort required to bust myths about COVID vaccines & vaccination particularly among communities residing in far flung and difficult to reach areas in the country.
The session was addressed by Shri Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, MUnion Health Ministry. It was attended by around 150 officers and field reporters from DD News, All India Radio, BOC, Press Information Bureau and media organisations of the Central Government.
Shri Lav Agarwal in his key address appreciated the endeavor of officers and field reporters from these media units in supporting the world’s largest vaccination by broadcasting inspiring stories of community participation and educating the general public about the need to follow Covid Appropriate Behaviour. These efforts have augmented the collective fight against COVID-19.
He emphasised that COVID is a long drawn battle and there is no scope of complacency. He underscored that all those who engage with media and media persons are major influencers of the society as they can encourage people to vaccinate through positive reporting. He acknowledged that media plays a constructive role in overcoming vaccine hesitancy by busting myths and fake news that is shared on ubiquitous social media platforms.
Through a detailed and comprehensive presentation, he gave a snapshot of COVID situation in the country. He said that focus on Containment & Clinical Management aided in higher recovery & lower Active caseload. He highlighted 9 states that still have more than 10,000 active cases. During his address, he underlined the need to remind citizens through evidence based reporting that it is critical to strictly follow COVID Appropriate Behaviour as the second wave is still not over and that virus can strike back as soon as society ignores adherence of COVID safe behaviour.
He also emphasized on the issue of mental health during COVID and requested media persons to address it through their messaging by engaging with subject experts from State and at National level. He urged to highlight community-led positive initiatives and role models so that positive messages linked to vaccines and vaccination can reach a larger population and contribute to addressing issues of vaccine hesitancy.
Shri Lav Agarwal also presented an overview on the priority COVID messaging oriented towards engaging and educating the public at large. He encouraged participants to produce innovative programs by engaging technical experts and the community. He urged officers and field reporters to create a Jan Andolan (Public Movement) by featuring community role- models.
Participants raised their queries and issues which were addressed during the session. Senior officials of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of I&B, and representatives from UNICEF attended the interactive session.