IFRC Urges Caribbean Countries to Build Vaccine Confidence in Local Communities
Jamaica, March 17, 2022 – The low frequency of vaccination against COVID-19 in the Caribbean must be addressed through building trust among the population and responding to inequality in vaccine access, says the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Building this trust is a key factor in promoting universal vaccination and therefore promoting socio-economic recovery in the Caribbean, where only 40 percent of the population counts on a complete vaccination schedule, compared to 68 percent in South America and 60 percent. cents in Central America. In North and South America, more than 1.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered.
Diana Medina, IFRC Engagement and Accountability regional manager said:
” Countries in the Caribbean are not only facing difficulties in their ability to ensure that the vaccine gets from the asphalt of the airport to the arms of the most vulnerable. People avoid being vaccinated due to lack of trust in the vaccine, difficulties in accessing information and mistrust of certain sources. To ensure that everyone is vaccinated, it is the key to strengthening the community-centered dialogue, identifying trust issues and addressing people’s doubts, concerns and fears. ”
A combination of different factors influences the progress of vaccination efforts: the geographical spread of the islands and the poor condition of the roads make it difficult to access hard-to-reach communities, leaving them unprotected and uninformed. The burden on healthcare institutions is significant and it is a challenge to carry out large-scale risk and information campaigns. In some communities, there is also a lack of trust in information providers and vaccine effectiveness.
A new report from the IFRC on perceptions about COVID-19, conducted in nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, reveals that some vulnerable populations such as migrants, indigenous communities and host communities face restrictions on access to vaccination services, lack confidence in their local authorities or decision-makers and are reluctant to be inoculated due to for fear of side effects and safety concerns.
Abdul Nasir Khan, IFRC Operations Coordinator for the Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean, added:
” Thanks to the Red Cross’ historical relationship with local communities in the field, we have identified that people are mostly dependent on information from health providers, humanitarian workers and local leaders, but they remain skeptical of information from official sources. It requires an urgent joint effort from all parties to provide reliable and tailored information to local communities through accessible and comprehensive risk communication in parallel with active vaccination activities. “
Since the beginning of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, the Red Cross has supported nearly 4,000 people in being vaccinated against COVID-19 and provided communications addressing vaccination dust to more than 650,000 people in the Caribbean. Staff assist health authorities in vaccinating people and implementing risk communication awareness-raising activities tailored to community perceptions and contexts, through local awareness of house-to-house visits, walks, public transport and by setting up information booths in public spaces. The Red Cross has also communicated key information to large cross-sections of the population through electronic whiteboards, television, radio and digital videos.
In 2022, local Red Cross teams will continue to work as helpers to the authorities, promote equal access to vaccines and socio-economic recovery for the most vulnerable, implement activities to build vaccine trust and place communities at the center of their actions through locally led humanitarian support.
Comments and further information:
- The Perception Survey report on COVID-19 in North and South America will be presented at a digital event on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 at. 10.00 EST / 16.00 CET. To participate in the interview, you must register by by clicking here.
- To download the complete report, click here
For more information or to schedule interviews with specialists about the COVID-19 situation in the Caribbean and Americas region, please contact:
Caribbean Office: Trevesa DaSilva, +1 876 818 8575, [email protected]