Scientists join hands to build public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Nov 20: As the world eagerly awaits the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines, the United Nations has collaborated with The Vaccine Confidence Project at the University of London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to undertake Team Halo, an initiative which aims to counter the misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines.

Through this initiative, over 100 scientists have joined hands to tackle the issue of misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines and build confidence by busting myths and sharing information on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines on social media. Globally, the initiative is supported by scientists who are involved in the race of coronavirus vaccine development across the world’s top institutes like Imperial College London, Harvard Medical School, University of Sao Paulo, University of Barcelona and many others.

In India, over 22 scientists have joined Team Halo from renowned institutes such as Institute of Medical Sciences and Sum Hospital, Bhubaneswar; PGIMER, Chandigarh; Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad; IIT Indore; Christian Medical College, Vellore; SRM Research Institute, Chennai; and Deep Children’s Hospital and Research Centre, Gandhidham.

Speaking about the initiative, Dr Gagandeep Kang, Professor of Microbiology at Christian Medical College Vellore, Chair of the Immunization Technical Advisory Group for the World Health Organisation South East Asian Region and a Team Halo contributor said, “At my institution we are studying how COVID-19 reinfection operates and I am excited about opening up the story of the search for COVID-19 vaccines for the public. People want to know about the science and stories behind the headlines and I am delighted to be experimenting with social media to make serious points in creative ways.”

Dr Shiv Pillai, Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School, said, “Science is a universal endeavour. We hear a lot about the efforts of individual countries to find a vaccine, but the reality is that this has always been a global effort. Whether it’s the international teams working in any given laboratory or the collaboration across borders since the first days of this crisis, we have been trying to stop this virus together.”

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