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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 10/20/20

An effective COVID-19 vaccine: Will you take it or will you not?

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The accelerated pace of vaccine development has further added to public anxieties. Some governments seem to be in a hurry to have a vaccine ready at the earliest to gain political mileage. They have been making false claims of launching a vaccine by an unrealistic early date, on the basis of very limited data even though clinical studies are far from over. This has further eroded public confidence.

Transparent, evidence-informed policy and clear, accurate communication is needed at all levels. Instilling public confidence in vaccine safety and effectiveness, as well as in the importance of practising infection control, is important. Credible health communication is vital in influencing positive health behaviour, and encouraging people to follow COVID-19 control measures-like wearing mask, practicing hand hygiene, maintaining physical distance- in their own interest. All these safety precautions seem to have taken a backseat in many countries. In India, with the opening of shops, hotels, bars, cinema halls and with the festive mood on, people seem to have thrown all caution to the wind and are revelling as if there is no tomorrow. Alas, there has been no tomorrow for 1,120,970 people globally and for 1,14,610 people in India as of October 19, 2020, who succumbed to the virus.

We cannot and should not ignore basic infection control methods, even as the scientists burn the midnight oil to develop a vaccine for COVID 19. Ayman El-Mohandes, co- coordinator of the study has rightly pointed out, "We need to increase vaccine confidence, and we need to improve the public's understanding of how they can help control the spread of COVID-19 in their families and their communities."

Shobha Shukla - CNS (Citizen News Service)

(Shobha Shukla is the founding Managing Editor of CNS (Citizen News Service) and is a feminist, health and development justice advocate. She is a former senior Physics faculty of Loreto Convent College and current Coordinator of Asia Pacific Media Network to end TB & tobacco and prevent NCDs (APCAT Media). Follow her on Twitter @shobha1shukla or read her writings here

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