Communication is the Key: Addressing the Issue of Vaccine Hesitancy

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Jainil Devani, a Third Year Medical Student at GMERS Gotri Medical College, Vadodara, India. He is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

As the world is slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot that we can learn from this harrowing experience. And a lot that we should understand to help navigate and capsize health crises in the future.

The pandemic effectively showed that even when the world came to a standstill, scientists and researchers put forward a tremendous effort and came through with multiple vaccines — vials that held the key to end this disaster. But, even the availability of affordable vaccines — something that still remains an elusive concept for many — couldn’t automatically kickstart a move in the positive direction: because of another pandemic that went “viral” on the internet: Vaccine misinformation.

A hefty portion of the population is required to be vaccinated to achieve sufficient protection from future outbreaks. And a significant slice of this pie was covered under blankets of misinformation, fallacies and hesitancy to take vaccines. Social media platforms like Facebook quickly turned into never-ending chasms of conspiracy theories: gene mutations, 5G, infertility, a government derived plan to deceive people, and other outlandish ideas surrounding the vaccines.

If such misinformation is allowed to run rampant, more and more people would become reluctant to be immunised. This not only causes personal damage, but little-by-little, affects the population as a whole. Which is why it becomes vital to curb misinformation and decrease vaccine hesitancy.

Simply put, communication becomes the key. Official, verified sources ensuring the correct information reaching the people are imperative. Misinformation should be actively removed from blowing up, as this is a matter of public interest and urgency. Furthermore, the scientific information put forward should not be inconsistent or difficult to understand — this gravitates the common man to more easily digestible lies — hence, the true information should also be presented in a relevant manner.

Other causes of vaccine hesitancy include fear of needles, and lack of information (this differs from misinformation: the subject does not have wrong ideas or beliefs, but simply does not understand the value of a vaccine). Both of these issues can also be tackled by proper, channeled distribution of information and counselling from the right sources to all recipients.

It also becomes the responsibility of scientific institutions and journals to report correct, robust data. Expediting the research process should not sacrifice the quality of data that it churns out. Science is the basis of correct information reaching the public, and there should be no grey areas left. The government should also be transparent about vaccine manufacturing, availability and on-ground issues. Delusions of grandeur may instill pride, but do not bring the people to vaccination centres.

All in all, a person should feel like they are in the know, and nothing is being hidden from them. They should be informed about why taking the vaccine is important; be counselled — on a public and personal level — about how it helps them, the community, and the entire process; and the person should feel confident in walking up to the booth and getting immunised. Everyone, from the nurse to the President plays a role in this journey — of removing false beliefs, all the way to getting the vaccine. And we, as humanity, cannot afford to lose this race: not against COVID, and definitely not against misinformation.


  1. Machingaidze, S., Wiysonge, C.S. Understanding COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Nat Med 27, 1338–1339 (2021).
  2. Loomba, S., de Figueiredo, A., Piatek, S.J. et al. Measuring the impact of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on vaccination intent in the UK and USA. Nat Hum Behav 5, 337–348 (2021).
  3. Garett R, Young SD. Online misinformation and vaccine hesitancy. Transl Behav Med. 2021 Dec 14;11(12):2194-2199. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibab128. PMID: 34529080; PMCID: PMC8515268.
  4. Singh K, Lima G, Cha M, Cha C, Kulshrestha J, Ahn Y-Y, et al. (2022) Misinformation, believability, and vaccine acceptance over 40 countries: Takeaways from the initial phase of the COVID-19 infodemic. PLoS ONE 17(2): e0263381.

About the author

Jainil Devani is a Third Year Medical Student at GMERS Gotri Medical College, Vadodara, India. He is a member of the MSAI (Medical Students Association of India), under IFMSA. His recent article was featured in the Medial Students International Journal 43, and he has also previously contributed articles to The European Sting. He stood 1st in a National Anatomy Paper Contest, “iKAL” organised by Saveetha Medical College, Chennai. He has also been the Publishing Head of Indian Medical Association, Medical Students Network, Vadodara. Jainil is also a songwriter-producer and his music can be found at:

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: