Vaccine hesitancy and combating Covid misinformation – a ‘Powering change’ webinar

Educating young people about the importance of Covid 19 prevention and vaccination was the theme of the second Global Youth Mobilization (GYM) ‘Powering Change’ webinar on 22 April 2022.

The event – co-chaired by Loris Tarazi, the World YMCA representative on the GYM Board – was the second in a series designed to present and discuss the findings of the February 2022 GYM impact report on ‘Powering Change: Young People Leading the Covid-19 Response and Recovery’. To support the launch, GYM is hosting a series of webinars to share insights from the report and discuss lessons learned.

‘This is an inspiring initiative, showcasing young people in action, in a mission to change communities worldwide’, said Loris, who chaired the event alongside Michelle Chew (the Youth representative on the GYM Board of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC).

The live webinar heard presentations from passionate youth workers introducing their case studies and community outreach missions in West Africa, in the attempt to educate young people about the importance of Covid 19 prevention and vaccination. Public health hesitancy and the spread of misinformation are the main issues, especially within indigenous communities. To this day, there is still great resistance to vaccine adoption within West African communities.

The webinar then went into breakout sessions, with questions posed to experts in the field of Healthcare. Lisa Menning (World Health Organization) and Merith Basley (Executive Director, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines) presented policy recommendations and lessons learned during the pandemic.

A key lesson was the importance of governments, policymakers, and communities in prioritizing evidence-based risk communication strategies and community engagement efforts to combat the spread of misinformation. All must empower and engage young people to take active roles in Covid 19 prevention at local, national, and international levels.

The Global Youth Mobilization (GYM), in collaboration with the world’s largest Big Six youth organizations, and with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Foundation (UNF), is a movement of young people taking action to improve their lives now and in a post-Covid-19 world.

The ‘Powering Change’ series of 3 webinars can be found on the GYM’s YouTube channel:

 

1. Education Disruption and Youth Empowerment – 18 April 2022

2. Vaccine Hesitancy and Combatting Misinformation – 21 April 2022

3. Mental Health – 27 April 2022