#VaxNow | Addressing vaccine hesitancy with ISRA

By Anupama K for the #COVIDActionCollab

August 1, 2022

When vaccine mobilizer Vishal Kumar visited Om Prakash and his family in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district, he came to know that the family feared that their children’s health could be compromised if they chose to get the COVID-19 vaccination. However, two days after Kumar’s visit and as a result of his relentless efforts, the family members agreed to get themselves vaccinated. This is an example of the change brought about by COVIDActionCollab (CAC) at the grassroots level through its vaccination initiative VaxNow. Our partner organisation, Institite of Social Responsibility & Accountability (ISRA) has played a key role in contributing to the success of this initiative. 

Through VaxNow – an initiative spearheaded by CAC in partnership with private and public stakeholders, we aim to vaccinate as many as 10 million individuals from vulnerable communities across India. As a VaxNow partner since December 2021, ISRA has been instrumental in reaching out to marginalised communities, especially in addressing vaccine hesitation. Through VaxNow, CAC and ISRA have been able to vaccinate roughly 89,448 people till 11th June 2022. ISRA is a Delhi-based Trust that works towards empowering marginalised communities by creating awareness about the welfare schemes of government and facilitating the communities on how to avail the benefits of these schemes. 

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During Vishal Kumar’s visit as part of VaxNow program, he was informed that none of the family members had taken vaccination due to fear of ill health and hesitation. Vishal shared a few visuals released by the government in public interest explaining the benefits of vaccination with the family and during his next visit after two days, Om Prakash agreed to get himself vaccinated and the rest of the family, which includes his wife and three children, followed him in the next few days. 

The health crisis sparked by COVID-19 can be addressed to a certain extend by effective vaccination programs. However vaccine hesitancy is a key challenge that delays the impact of efforts taken by the government to contain the pandemic. It burdents the public health  system of a country. Misinformation, lack of proper awareness and fear are the major reasons why people are reluctant towards receiving vaccination. In rural India, the awareness regarding vaccinations is poor and the communities are vastly influenced by the false information that vaccination could lead to life threatening diseases and ill health. Through VaxNow, CAC is addressing this problem which is rampant in the rural parts of the country and among the marginalised communities. Through vaccine mobilisers, CAC and ISRA have been able to reach out to the community members directly and share relevant information regarding the health benefits of vaccination. 

Through its strong partner network, CAC has been successfully implementing VaxNow in many states across the country including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Haryana among others. By raising awareness and building systems, VaxNow is also addressing other major concerns such as lack of access, poor infrastructure etc to ensure that the marginalisd communities are resilient and can bounce back during the time of a crisis.

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COVIDActionCollab is not merely an aggregation of partners, but is an aggregation of capacities, through which we have developed key high impact initiatives. We have drawn upon our one year’s experience at CAC and engagement with our large constituency of partners to put together a menu of initiatives for funders/investors to support which will save lives and livelihoods, and enable vulnerable communities to 'bounce forward’. Support these initiatives to build resilient communities