Published 5 March, 2021
Buckie Got It, St. Kitts and Nevis News Source
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH IMPLEMENTS COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY ON COVID-19 VACCINATION PROGRAMME
Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 05, 2021 (SKNIS): A comprehensive communications strategy has been implemented by the Federal Ministry of Health in relation to the public education campaign about the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine and Vaccination Programme both in St. Kitts and in Nevis, says Minister of Health, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett.
The Minister was at the time speaking during a Sitting of Parliament on March 04, 2021, in her presentation on the Bill shortly entitled COVID-19 Prevention and Control (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
“We would say that this has been the case since about February and we have had all aspects of the COVID-19 Vaccine Education Programme and Communication Programme being led by the subject matter experts to build the public trust in vaccine safety and efficacy, and it is ongoing in various modes of both the traditional as well as the non-traditional ways of communicating this information,” she said.
She added that there have been several education facilitators including the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws, the Medical Chief of Staff, Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, as well as a number of other young doctors, District Medical Officers, and the Health Promotion Units both on St. Kitts and on Nevis. All these form part of the education and communication strategy.
The Health Minister said that the COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Strategy is built on the successful communication and engagement programme delivered throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to date.
She noted that the main goals of the communication strategy are to increase the level of acceptance and build confidence in the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine by the general population, and to position the COVID-19 vaccines as an additional element in the public health service to protect against the COVID-19.
Minister Byron-Nisbett outlined the six main objectives of the communication and education strategy.
“That is providing prompt, simple, and focused communication on the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccination process; building public confidence on the safety and efficacy of the new vaccine to reduce vaccine hesitancy; ensuring understanding and acceptance of the phased and prioritized approach to overcome concerns; vaccine eagerness in the population waiting for vaccination; providing information on potential risks and mitigate unintended crisis during the introduction and continued rollout; maintaining messaging on key preventative behaviours, wearing of our masks, maintaining physical distancing, hand washing and hand sanitizing; and reducing the influence of any misinformation, disinformation or anything that would cause persons to have a misconception towards the vaccine,” she said.
The minister said that the content of the COVID-19 Vaccination Plan is reaching a wide cross-section of the Federation, which aims at sensitizing and engaging individuals, families, organizations and communities in both St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The programme continues to gain momentum with increasing trust and confidence as persons are assured of its safety and effectiveness,” said Minister Byron-Nisbett.