Mumbai: A Multimedia Exhibition Van to create awareness on COVID-19 Vaccination and Aatmanirbhar Bharat has been flagged off by the Principal Health Secretary, Government of Maharashtra Dr. Pradeep Kumar Vyas at the premises of Films Division in Mumbai today. The Director General of Films Division Ms Smita Vats Sharma and WHO’s Surveillance Medical Officer Dr. Vivek R. Pardeshi were also present at the flagging-off ceremony.

The van will travel to 3 routes in Mumbai, Bandra-Dharavi-Juhu-Andheri-Borivali; Goregaon-Chinchvali-Malad-Kandivali-Charkop-Borivali-Dahisar; Kurla-Chembur-Ghatkopar-Mankhurd-Turbhe- Bhandup-Vikroli. Under this campaign, 16 specially fabricated vans with a message will travel across 36 districts of Maharashtra to spread awareness among people. The vans will also display messages through LED screens and these vans will be live tracked through GPS through integrated dashboard which can be accessed at through scanning of QR Code. 

Appreciating the initiative taken by ROB, Dr. Pradeep Vyas said, there is a lot of difference in the situation when the first COVID-19 case was reported in Maharashtra almost a year ago and the present day. Nothing much was known about the disease then. But now we have better knowledge about the disease and hence, we know what message should be given out to people, said Dr. Vyas. He stated that when a communication campaign about COVID was started by the Maharashtra Government in the month of September, it bore result and the situation more or less stabilized from the month of November in the state. He further noted that there has again been a spike of COVID cases since the last 10 days in the state, and under such a situation, this initiative taken by ROB is the right thing to do at this time.

“It is necessary to send across a few important messages to people now”, said Dr. Vyas. These are:

  • COVID can occur even now and to anyone, even to one’s family members.
  • Both the vaccines, COVISHIELD & COVAXIN, are safe, effective and whichever vaccine is being given to someone should be taken.
  • Pregnant and lactating mothers and those aged below 18 are not being given the vaccine as of now.
  • When someone is being given a vaccine, not only an individual but the other people surrounding and interacting with that individual also gets protection.

Thus, those who have got themselves tested and are found to have developed antibodies should also not hesitate to take the vaccine. 5) The second dose of the vaccine has to be taken after 28 days.

The Principal Health Secretary, Government of Maharashtra further said, vaccination and creating awareness about vaccination must go on side-by-side. This will lead to curbing of misinformation and rumors surrounding vaccines, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Smita Vats Sharma, DG Films Division said, the campaign for following COVID Appropriate Behaviours has brought us to a stage of vaccination in this fight against COVID. The purpose of the traveling multimedia exhibition van will be to sensitize every individual about vaccination, not only by providing them with information, but through a process of infotainment.

These multimedia vans are a combination of interpersonal communication and use of digital technology. While ROB’s performing artistes will bring to life the messages of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Vaccination through cultural performances, general public may also scan the QR Codes being displayed on the vans to gather more information on these from the official websites and social media handles.

The cultural artistes of Song & Drama Division performed street play and dance at the event. They will convey messages through folk performances popular in respective districts/ regions of Maharashtra. Communication has played a big role in containing the COVID-19 pandemic. In this effort, the campaign aims to take the Government’s communication to people’s doorsteps. Representatives of all partner organizations and other senior officials and staff of Films Division were present at the event.

The campaign has been designed and implemented by the Regional Outreach Bureau (ROB), Pune – a media unit of the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the IEC Division of the Government of Maharashtra’s Health Department. The campaign was inaugurated by Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shri Prakash Javadekar at Pune about a week ago.