The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has launched an innovative regional online schools’ game show aimed at improving the public’s understanding, especially young people and their parents, about COVID-19 and vaccination processes.
The COVID-19 and Immunisation game show, entitled “Take Your Best Shot”, also promoted routine immunisation for better overall health and well-being.
In a statement, CARPHA said this unique pilot project, which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development, Eastern and Southern Caribbean (USAID/ESC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund, Eastern Caribbean (UNICEF), saw students from eight secondary schools in two Caribbean states – Guyana and St. Lucia compete for grand prizes.
In its five-year strategic plan, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified vaccine hesitancy as one of the ten global health threats the world faces in 2019 and beyond. Vaccine hesitancy has been defined by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) working group as the ‘‘delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite the availability of vaccination services.”
Dr Joy St. John, CARPHA Executive Director explained, “Historically, the Caribbean had one of the best immunisation records in the world. However, recent studies indicated that routine immunisations had been declining due to hesitancy caused by misinformation.”
Dr St. John added that COVID-19 heavily exacerbated the situation, resulting in doubt about the efficacy of vaccines in general.
In light of this, CARPHA said in partnership with USAID and UNICEF, it created this innovative public education programme to share accurate, evidence-based information that would combat misinformation, address concerns, and improve understanding about vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine.