Indian Journal of Dental Research

EDITORIAL
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 829-

COVID-19 vaccination, dentistry, and general public


SM Balaji 
 Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Dental Research, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, 30, KB Dasan Road, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
S M Balaji
Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Dental Research, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, 30, KB Dasan Road, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Balaji S M. COVID-19 vaccination, dentistry, and general public.Indian J Dent Res 2020;31:829-829


How to cite this URL:
Balaji S M. COVID-19 vaccination, dentistry, and general public. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 19 ];31:829-829
Available from: https://www.ijdr.in/text.asp?2020/31/6/829/311645


Full Text



India has joined the leagues of nations that are mass vaccinating against the COVID-19.[1] As the first priority frontline workers namely medical professionals and healthcare workers are being systematically vaccinated. As a part of the Indian frontline health workers, dental surgeons across the country are also being vaccinated. The vaccination comes at a point when the Indian dentists are getting low footfalls even though the COVID-19 spread is being limited.[2]

The sceptical reaction by the Indian general public, including the medical fraternity regarding vaccination, has an important bearing.[1] India needs a healthcare workers and general public vaccination strategy for the promotion of COVID-19 vaccines that unites the urgency and commitment of government with innovative behavioural science and social marketing approaches to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence and acceptance in diverse populations. The policymakers need to gain the trust of the public in the rigor of Indian vaccine trials and the integrity of the approval process. The literature identifies some essential workable strategies in the likes of being simple, easy-to-understand language, messaging that emphasises science and evidence-based endorsements by diverse and well-regarded celebrities and opinion leaders; and emphasis on facts and evidence over myths and disinformation.[3] Social media misinformation about COVID-19 vaccination needs to be curbed effectively on a war footing speed.[4],[5]

It is very apt that several entities have made the vaccine free and easily accessible, ensured that there are uniform and unrestricted access to hospital settings, use public endorsements from trusted leaders to increase uptake, provided priority access to people who sign up to get vaccinated before vaccines are widely available and worked sincerely to transform individual vaccination decisions into a public act.[3] The roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine comes at a unique time in India. The number of cases and active cases are getting low with every passing day while there is no shortage or supply of vaccine constrained. In spite of this the need to adherence to nonpharmaceutical interventions, such as masking and social distancing, will be critical. To end the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be important to frame the vaccine as part of a comprehensive pandemic response versus the sole “savior” strategy that will result in a return to normal life immediately, which could lead people to take greater risks than they would should the prospect of an effective vaccine not exist. Previous lessons from highly active antiretroviral therapy for HIV patients have underlined the increased risk-taking behaviour when there is a proven drug available.[6] Hence, the ultimate potential for the COVID-19 vaccines to help halt the pandemic will be limited without comparable attention paid to traversing the behavioural “last mile” necessary to ensure vaccine acceptance and uptake. Several behaviourally informed strategies coupled with stressing the need to maintain social distancing and mask-wearing are necessary.

References

1Data Available from: https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/59-indians-sceptical-about-covid-19-vaccine-wont-rush-to-take-it-survey/79528066. [Last accessed on 2021 Feb 10].
2Data Available from: https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/facing-covid-19-pain-dentists-hike-charges-to-cover-low-footfall. [Last accessed on 2021 Feb 09].
3Volpp KG, Loewenstein G, Buttenheim AM. Behaviorally informed strategies for a national COVID-19 vaccine promotion program. JAMA 2021;325:125-6.
4Kouzy R, Abi Jaoude J, Kraitem A, El Alam MB, Karam B, Adib E, et al. Coronavirus goes viral: Quantifying the COVID-19 misinformation epidemic on Twitter. Cureus 2020;12:e7255.
5Cinelli M, Quattrociocchi W, Galeazzi A, Valensise CM, Brugnoli E, Schmidt AL, et al. The COVID-19 social media infodemic. Sci Rep 2020;10:16598.
6Chen Y. Treatment-related optimistic beliefs and risk of HIV transmission: A review of recent findings (2009–2012) in an era of treatment as prevention. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep 2013;10:79-88.