Why is it necessary to inform patients clearly and transparently during vaccination campaigns?

At the end of July, Google's decision to require its more than 130,000 employees worldwide to receive the vaccine against covid-19 before returning to the office next October made headlines.

By Catalina Parada, COO de Axon Marketing & Communications.

Several public and private entities throughout the United States and Europe joined the call, in whose cases vaccination was made an exclusive requirement when carrying out certain professional and entertainment tasks.

However, the situation goes beyond rejection or approval in relation to receiving the biologic. Instead of exerting pressure, firstly, the various authorities should remember the fundamental right of people to decide about their own bodies and, on the other hand, the need to reinforce information mechanisms so that the population has sufficient criteria to make correct and scientifically based decisions… especially in the face of covid-19.

Such a scenario, where vaccination is not a forced issue but is seen as an opportunity for free choice for the common good, would reinforce the highest postulates of democracies: the freedom of individuals and free will. On this path, communication plays a very special role.

Well-informed communication

Vaccination, like other public health campaigns, must be communicated in a responsible, empathetic and sustained manner. This would allow, among other things, to reduce the volume of false news currently circulating on the Internet, and to make informed decisions with individual responsibility.

Although there are already technological and digital solutions on the market capable of disproving false news about vaccination and related aspects, to attack the root of the problem it is crucial to pass the microphones and cameras to the real specialists: doctors and medical and scientific personnel. This is a timely task, especially for communications agencies and mass media.

The task of communicating responsibly and disproving false beliefs about vaccines and the pandemic with information backed by experts is becoming increasingly relevant; in Latin America, the use of social networks has increased in the last year. According to Comscore, a company specializing in media and marketing, about 82% of Latin Americans had access to social networks during 2020, representing an increase of 1.6% compared to 2019. Although social networks are wonderful channels for multiple reasons, they are also the ideal platform for the spread of fake news.

This being the case, to be successful in the various global covid-19 vaccination days, science and mass channels, such as social networks or the media, must communicate clearly and empathetically their progress. For decades the progress of science was limited to this community and specialized congresses.

Today, people who do not belong to the profession must also be part of this conversation to understand the advances and achievements of science, especially if what is sought is to strengthen mass vaccination campaigns globally to achieve herd immunity and take care of each other. This turns out to be a fundamental strategy that also legitimizes people’s right to make conscientious and reasoned decisions.