2020 was a muddled year where a deadly contagion caused unprecedented devastation across the globe. India ,amidst an already sliding economy, subsequent lockdowns, loss of lives, and livelihoods, the announcement of vaccine circulation became a beacon of hope in times of adversity. However, the reception of vaccines in India was welcomed with scepticism as it left people wondering that how within a year of its production the vaccine can be effective to shield against the deadly virus. A lack of conviction existed at the back of people’s minds that made them think if the vaccine can have any counter effects on our body.
With the government rolling out vaccination plans, a major challenge that lies ahead for them is to disseminate effectively the correct information about the vaccines to the masses. The information disseminated to the masses about homegrown vaccines should instill confidence, transparency, trust, educate, and alleviate apprehensions about the vaccine’s effectiveness.
When a person of authority validates a product, it convinces people to accept the piece of information.
How Covid Vaccine Marketing is Happening in India
The government has adopted various mediums for effective dissemination of information about the vaccines which in turn is marketing. Below are the strategies involved in its marketing of Covid vaccines.
Establishing a National Media Rapid Response Cell
By establishing a National Media Rapid Response Cell (NMRCC) at MoHFW (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) the government aims to provide rapid responses to the queries appearing in the traditional media and social media. NMRCC will enable real-time, round-the-clock monitoring of digital media and address all queries related to the vaccine and the disease. It will also keep a tab on any misleading or fake information about the vaccine on the discussions happening on social media platforms.
Health talk shows on Doordarshan
Doordarshan is the official broadcasting channel of the government of India. It is organising talk shows such as ‘Aarogya Bharat’ by inviting senior doctors and reputed medical practitioners to talk about vaccines being safe and effective. When a person of authority validates a product, it convinces people to accept the piece of information. The health talk shows about the vaccine are also being conducted on regional Doordarshan channels. Why do you think every ad commercial of Sensodyne has a dentist in it?
Health and fitness influencers, Standup comedians, and social media
Dr. Siddhanth Bhargava, founder of Food Darzee and a doctor created two Instagram reels under the title ‘Dr. Sid Says’ communicating to people about the vaccine being safe to be inoculated by anyone except pregnant and lactating mothers. Smartphones and the internet being ubiquitous, the marketing of Covid vaccine is taking place leveraging the huge followers of health and fitness influencers. Many stand-up comedians are posting their vaccination pictures as Instagram stories that act as a testimony and entrust belief amongst the masses. Similarly, many doctors and politicians are taking snapshots of themselves taking the vaccination and posting it on Twitter. Instagram has launched stickers that say ‘Let’s Get Vaccinated’ in a bid to normalise vaccination and get rid of fears.
Inviting senior journalists and national editors of print media houses to publish opinion pieces, organizing interviews and discussions with scientists, experts, and other credible voices in national and regional print media.
Vaccine Marketing in Rural India
To educate rural India about the safety of vaccines, the government is involving community groups such as local leaders, gram panchayats, Scouts and Guides, NSS (National Service Scheme), Gram Sabha school management, etc. to amplify about the vaccination drive.