COVID-19 vaccination programs are underway throughout Africa, but having the product on hand does not guarantee a public demand to get the shot. Communications specialists in the region face several challenges in convincing people to get vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them. They must find a way to convince those people who are vaccine hesitant, and in many cases actively resistant to getting vaccinated, in the face of widescale mis- and dis-information about the science and safety of COVID-19 inoculation. In this Media Dialog, Helena Ballester Bon, Communications for Development expert at the Eastern and Southern Africa office of UNICEF, will discuss the stages of creating vaccine demand, the short term and long-term strategies communications professionals use to create public demand, and she will address the role played by misinformation in limiting demand for the COVID-19 vaccines in the region. Helena will be joined by Kate Thomas, Internews’ Pandemic Media Mentor, who will provide advice to journalists and other content creators on how they can address the issues raised by vaccine demand creation in their daily media work.
INFORMATION PREPAREDNESS AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT FOR EL NIÑO IN THE EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICA REGION
This key considerations brief describes the implications of El Niño in the East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) for Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) initiatives, based on previous comparable weather events. Lessons learnt are predominantly taken from the literature on communicating forecast and weather information, but have implications for multi-hazard RCCE response. Some lessons learnt are also taken from beyond East and Southern Africa, but considered within the anticipated El Niño effects in ESAR specifically.