As a cross-cutting department within ITSU, strategic communication and media related activities have a very important role to play, both in working closely with Government of India to develop communication strategies, materials, media plans and advisories as also internal teams within JSI.
Globally there is evidence to suggest immunization programs that have performed well have been attributed largely to their effective communication and dissemination. Without well-planned, adequately funded strategic communication, immunization programs fall short of meeting and sustaining coverage goals. Communication is particularly needed to achieve vaccination coverage in hard-to-reach populations and to build trust in vaccines among those who question them.
Successful vaccination campaigns require proactive communication strategies to inform the population and address vaccine concerns and hesitancy. Ensuring vaccines reach their intended beneficiaries requires planned outreach and targeted public messaging. Multiple factors influencing vaccine decisions, trust in the importance, safety, and effectiveness of vaccines, along with compatibility of vaccination with religious beliefs are essential ingredients to any vaccine communication campaign/advocacy effort.
Effective outreach and communication ensures governments are aware of the various vaccine options and understand their role and thereby take ownership.Governments and large-scale programmes are seeing merit in revitalizing investments in communication for immunization. This encompasses communication in its broadest sense to include:
- Advocacy and targeting messaging
- Impactful social and community mobilization
- Strategic information, education, and communication (IEC) activities
- Responsible media outreach and responding to media queries
- Curtailing disinformation and misinformation
- Promoting initiation of new immunization behaviors and actions
Stakeholders need to advocate for immunization programs to persuade governments, donors, and other actors to support vaccine programs vis-á-vis their health programs and priorities. Communication activities are even more likely to affect care-seeking behaviors when health systems offer a supportive environment and structural barriers are minimal.
ITSU’s role in building a communication platform
- Developed communication strategies, communication planning templates and IEC materials for Mission Indradhanush, Intensified Mission Indradhanush, Rotavirus vaccine, Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), Measles-Rubella (MR) campaign and adult diphtheria (Td) vaccine
- Immunization newsletter for MoHFW highlighting progress and achievements of the Immunization programme
- Enhanced media visibility at national and state level via varied coverage on RI, MI and the NVI
- Finalized a Social Media Engagement Plan and activities to be disseminated through partners
- Successfully driving a social media campaign for immunization @vaccinate4life and using social media to amplify key messages and relevant media coverage
- Daily monitoring and tracking of print and online media on immunization and news reports shared with MoHFW.
- Developed SoPs and tools for AEFI media communication, guidelines on crisis communication, responding to crisis situations in RI and around new vaccine introduction and scale up; media monitoring and tracking of crisis arising from AEFI
- Knowledge management and documenting innovative/best practices/success stories on immunization