This is the second pandemic: “fake news” about these vaccines.
“To defeat Covid-19, we also need to overcome the parallel mistrust epidemic that has consistently hampered our collective response to the disease and that could undermine our common vaccination capacity,” he said.
The head of the world’s largest humanitarian aid network said his organization shares “the feeling of relief and optimism” that the development of Covid-19 vaccines brings. But governments and institutions need to “build trust in communities” where misinformation has taken root, he added.
Distrust is also growing around other health measures
At the same time, mistrust is growing around other public health interventions that need to continue in a pandemic.
“This high level of mistrust has been evident since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic and has clearly facilitated the spread of the virus at all levels,” he said.
“It’s not just a matter of mistrust. It’s a matter of information,” Rocca said. “As surprising as it may be, there are still communities in the world that are unaware of the epidemic.”
Such communities tend to be vulnerable and marginalized, living outside the reach of typical communication channels, he said. He cited the example of Pakistan, citing a federal survey that found 10% of respondents were unaware of Covid-19.
“We believe that the huge concerted efforts needed to introduce the Covid vaccine fairly need to be coupled with the same huge efforts to proactively build and protect trust,” Rocca said.
Rocca’s remarks echoed the words of scientists around the world.
CNN Zamira Rahim contributed to the report.