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Citizen Voices

Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy In Pakistan

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Several awareness campaigns were launched in the developed countries regarding precautionary measures to avoid Covid. The public by and large took preventive measures seriously, but some countries were not prepared to accept the pandemic as a reality. Pakistan has almost topped the list of the countries that denied the severity of the pandemic. After millions of people succumbed to this deadly virus — and people saw their own close relatives, loved ones, and friends perish — the nation accepted the reality and began taking the virus seriously.

While the World Health Organisation urged caution, our people were busy proving that coronavirus was a Jewish conspiracy and a hoax.

Countering these conspiracy theories was an uphill task and they made it more difficult for the authorities to enforce Covid restrictions. Thankfully that phase is now behind us. Due to the tireless work of scientists, we have been able to develop Covid vaccines. Vaccination drives are in full swing around the globe. In Pakistan too, the government has been trying to persuade  people to get vaccinated.

But the conspiracy theories about Covid have now turned into rumours about the vaccine. Propaganda on social media especially WhatsApp continues and it is being said that Western powers were trying to install a chip in our bodies to keep eyes on our movements through the vaccine. People have also been trying to stick magnets on their bodies after getting their vaccine dosage to prove that the vaccine is a means to insert a chip in our bodies. Despite this propaganda, many people are now understanding the importance of vaccine and are getting themselves vaccinated.

In this regard, the trend of posting one’s photos on social media while getting the vaccine jab has yielded positive results. This trend created a sense of encouragement among people and played a role in decreasing vaccine hesitancy in the country.

It is clear that when the country’s celebrities, popular politicians, and other dignitaries take part in a trend, people start to emulate them.

This trend also helps raise awareness about the process to get yourself vaccinated. Those who share their photos from the vaccine centres on social media also inform how the process went and what procedure is to be followed. People tend to trust those they know which is why the vaccine photos have been helpful in the country’s vaccine drive.

There are several propaganda videos and posts on social media through which people were misled into believing that the vaccine is a conspiracy. Therefore, the presence of vaccine selfies on social media is a breath of fresh air and will help counter the propaganda.

Social media users who mock this trend need to understand its usefulness and how it is helping us overcome vaccine hesitancy. It is important for public figures and influencers to take part in this social media trend and share their vaccine photos so more people can be encouraged to get vaccinated.

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Naya Daur