12 January 2021
With the rapid development and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, the anxious wait is over. But with anti-vaccine ideologies growing, governments are facing the next obstacle – getting the global population immunised.
As the only science media outlet in Malaysia, The Petri Dish team is launching an awareness campaign on vaccinations. Vaccines are our only long lasting weapon to fight this pandemic. It is predicted that around 70% of the global population has to be vaccinated to chase the virus into hibernation. But it will not go away. However, we can control it so that future endemics are less severe.
Amidst a global pandemic, the spread of misinformation and a lack of public awareness has given rise to the so-called “infodemic” – where inaccurate information is widely available and spreads quickly. Social media discussions clearly reflect vaccine concerns and reluctance among the public. This is alarming, so The Petri Dish is launching its own vaccine campaign named TrustTheShot. The campaign will run on The Petri Dish’s Instagram and other social media accounts belonging to Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC).
The idea was proposed by Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan, the editor-in-chief of The Petri Dish and internationally renowned science communicator. “Anti-vaccination movements and ideologies are not new. It is a longstanding issue in public health. We have seen many preventable diseases re-emerging, especially among children. It is time to arrest this misinformation, especially when COVID-19 has taken 1.9 million lives around the globe”, says Mahaletchumy.
As the situation looks alarming in Malaysia, Mahaletchumy gathered her interns at MABIC to be the comrades to fight the misconception. With all of them trained in the biological sciences, TrustTheShot aims to collate credible and science-based information on vaccines and disseminate this information to the public.
Nishat Anan, the head of the project, says “We can all agree that social media is a massive tool to achieve so much in our society. However, its misuse at times like these can get dangerous. It’s exciting to lead this impressive initiative of The Petri Dish to make sure everyone of us is able to understand and trust the role of vaccinations.”
The campaign will run with daily posts on The Petri Dish’s Instagram (@thepetridish), and aims to cover a wide range of topics surrounding vaccines. It will provide an insight into the historical and biological perspectives of vaccines in general, and will also address specific public concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Read more about the campaign here.
**All previous posts about COVID-19 here: https://sciencemediacentremalaysia.com/tag/covid-19/