Young scientists' academy launches campaign to bust myths about COVID-19 vaccination

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New Delhi, Apr 8 (PTI) The Indian National Young Academy of Sciences (INYAS) has launched a multi-pronged nationwide mass awareness campaign to bust myths about the COVID-19 vaccination programme, a statement said on Thursday.

Ashutosh Sharma, secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), launched the campaign on April 6 with information packages in 11 languages, including English and Hindi.

'The COVID-19 vaccination awareness campaign organised by the Indian National Young Academy of Sciences will be carried out through COVACNEWS, an Android-based mobile app made by INYAS, for ensuring (availability of) information at the fingertips,' the statement said.

A pan-India infographic video and audio competition with a motivation to transform information into more readable and effective formats is also being organised along with the 'Gyan Teeka' webinar series, which will see the participation of eminent speakers, dedicated to increasing awareness about vaccines.

The entries for the competition will be utilised to increase vaccine awareness by INYAS, and these competitions will be judged at three levels – school, college and professional.

Launching the campaign, Sharma highlighted the role of science communication in the present situation when the whole world is fighting against COVID-19.

'Lessons from the past pandemics show that the second wave of any pandemic is a norm, and we cannot let our guard down at any stage. Communicating with the masses becomes very important in such a situation.

'It is our responsibility to tell people in simple ways that will appeal to them psychologically. Our target is to reach out to the grassroots, rural population and focus on things which are relevant,' he said.

Applauding the efforts of scientists, Indian National Science Academy (INSA) president Prof Chandrima Saha said, 'Scientists have done a commendable job in this testing time. India is leading the worldwide vaccination programme.' 'Now, the involvement of society is required for successful vaccination throughout the country. Vaccines can help the body fight the disease and create herd immunity. However, for this, a large population needs to be vaccinated,' she said. PTI PR DIV DIV