March 22, 2021

The Indian COVID-19 Alliance (TICA) | Communications Track

By Kalyani Rajan, Shilpa Rao, Archana Nirmal Kumar, Vibhav Mariwala, Surya AV, Charu Sheela, Anushka Bhansali

In Public Health, communication is often equated with sharing of information. This past year, apart from having to deal with a pandemic, people have had to contend with an “infodemic”. We have too much information or rather misinformation. We also learned the hard way that information alone does not result in tangible behavior change even when the stakes for health and safety are extremely high. People are looking to understand the “why” rather than the “what” in a language and tone they can relate to. This is where strategic communication comes in, with not just the right amount of information but, going a step further, giving them a clear reason to act with a value attached to it. COVID-19 is a public health issue, but it is also a social issue impacting lives and a way of living hence communication for COVID-19 cannot be based on only health and safety related benefits. When India launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the largest in the world, we see the same trend of excess information being shared but a limited focus on the reasons behind the rollout and the impact it could have on us as a society at large.

 

Under the guidance of Kalyani Rajan, Strategic Communications specialist, and Visiting Senior Fellow at IDFC Institute, The Indian COVID Alliance (TICA) commissioned a COVID-19 Vaccine Communications & Needs Assessment Study, with the following objectives:

  • To gain a deeper understanding of the general attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccines and the vaccine roll out

  • To guide a Behavior Change Communication Strategy and Campaign aimed at nudging the public to volunteer to take the vaccine as and when offered

 

This research was conceptualized by IDFC Institute and executed by our partner Convergent View across 2 states - Punjab (Ludhiana) and Karnataka (Tumkur), covering both urban and rural areas, between February 13th to 16th 2021. It involved 26 Individual In-Depth Interviews and 18 Focus Group Discussions across the following respondent groups: 

 

The study tools and methods have been thoroughly reviewed and certified by an independent IRB (Institutional Review Board). Below are a few highlights from the study, however for full context, we would urge you to read the report in its entirety. It can be downloaded here. Explore other studies by our TICA team and detailed reports here

 

 

 

We are currently utilizing these findings to develop a communications strategy as well as a Behavior Change Communication Campaign Toolkit. Watch this space for more updates!

 

In the meantime, here is a fantastic resource developed by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change which is a handy and practical playbook for COVID-19 Crisis Communication Guidelines.

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