Communication Strategy: The Pathway to overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by two aspiring health advocates, Uma Gupta and Salman Khan from India. They are 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.


Vaccine Hesitancy has been a rapidly growing healthcare delivery concern for a really long time, but has been included in our daily conversations since the past decade. While the ideology behind reluctance of vaccination acceptance is extremely complex, it has been attributed highly to lack of trust amongst the masses- towards their healthcare provider, pharmaceuticals or even the overall concept of vaccination.

The healthcare fraternity is at the forefront of vaccine promotion, counselling and health education. This creates a direct path to socratic communication, counselling and putting someone in a dilemma at ease. However, there is a deep-rooted influence of the Internet, specifically social media, replacing the centuries long ignorance with misinformation and propaganda. While strict government and policy programs mandate reporting of possible adverse events and monitoring the implementation of vaccination programs. intensive media coverage may also discourage people from being vaccinated.

The world shares a collective responsibility in fighting this pandemic; continuous intervention and new communication strategies need to be developed to overcome hesitancy. The road to fighting this pandemic and preparing for the future is to place importance on communication strategies. As it is rightly said, the pen is mightier than the sword, it stands true even in the case of overcoming vaccine hesitancy.

It is essential to centre our strategies around safety and quality assurance. The very fact that something as small as a 25mm needle is going to provide safety from life threatening complications speaks volumes on the need for vaccination, and needs to be amplified in the messages communicated. Along with this, the variety of choices and knowledge acquired through continuous research should be disseminated to the masses in a transparent way as a possible way to reduce hesitancy- by reducing the chances for spread of misinformation or even raising an iota of doubt on the efficiency of vaccines.

However, the road to fighting misinformation through effective communication strategies is not a one way street. It is further important to place the responsibility towards the community to tackle the health evil.   

About the authors

Aspiring health advocates, Uma Gupta and Salman Khan hail from India. They believe that global health is the art of empathy applied to the science of medicine. Uma, currently working as an intern in Belagavi, is an aspiring writer and physician. Salman, currently in his final year of medical school in Mumbai aims to be a global health practitioner. As a part of the Medical Students’ Association of India for the past 5 years, they have been trying to be an asset to Indian health and advocating for various public health issues, including vaccine hesitancy.

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