Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the nation-wide rollout of the much waited COVID-19 vaccine, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has sought support of universities and colleges to create awareness among people about the mega programme.

The move comes after the Health Ministry requested the University Grants Commission (UGC) to work together on mass immunization against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the face of such a swift evolving scenario of vaccine development and rollout, one of the challenges is to ensure that over 1.3 billion people in India receive factually correct and prompt information and updates of vaccine benefits and rollout progress,” the UGC letter read.

It is critical to build public confidence regarding the vaccine safety and address fears over any adverse events and at the same time to continue stress on strict public adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour.

The Ministry of Education had earlier collaborated with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to create all the awareness related activities during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The Health Ministry has asked UGC to utilise its network and several online talk programmes to address key issues relating to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine will be available initially in limited stocks. The National Expert Group on vaccine administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has recommended prioritization during initial phases to health care workers, frontline workers, persons aged 50 years and above and lastly those with co-morbidities.

“We will need to actively collaborate towards building such an environment of universal vaccine acceptability and key will be effective communication action plan for proactive dissemination at all levels (state, district, block, village),” the letter read.