The communication errors in dealing with the Coronavirus began early, when the media raced to present news about the “bat” theory in China, or that the vaccine created in a laboratory, or when news agencies broadcast news about Dutch and British citizens attacking 5G service towers because they believed that microwaves and communication frequencies are the cause of the Coronavirus.
In the Middle East and North Africa region, the disparity in the rate of vaccination varied between countries such as the UAE and Bahrain, and countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia and Jordan, the so-called “vaccine hesitancy” added to the weak desire in general in these countries to take the vaccine, as surveys showed that the percentage of those who wish to receive the vaccine in Jordan, for example, is less than a third! What observers considered due mainly to a crisis of confidence in governments.
Although the aforementioned conspiracy theories such as bats and the 5G networks have subsided globally, their resonance in the region has so far been resounding; adding to other conspiracy theories such as the theory of the tracking chip that is implanted in the bodies of vaccine recipients by Bill Gates, and other conspiracy theories circulated through social media sites with racist and anti-Semitic roots, such as that all directors of vaccine companies are Jewish. What contributed to the low demand for vaccination in countries that did not provide significant quantities of it in the first place. Indeed, some of these countries, such as Tunisia, which did not conduct any worth mentioning communication campaign to encourage vaccination, are still putting up a warning sign at Tunis International Airport stating that no vaccine is available for the disease yet!
A few big countries, in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), have produced "Covax" initiative to ensure a "fair" distribution of vaccines to developing and the poorest countries; despite Covacs' efforts in this regard, the disparity in the proportions of vaccine recipients globally is still widening, as until the beginning of June 2021, more than half of the population was vaccinated in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, which used what is now known as "vaccines diplomacy" to distribute vaccines to its allies in countries such as Honduras and the Czech Republic, while more than 6 million Palestinians, who live under The Israeli occupation, suffer of vaccines shortage. Similarly, in some countries the proportion is reduced to a few dozen vaccinations in the entire country!
Global approaches and solutions for a global pandemic
Internationally, the federal government in India, the country that usually produces a large proportion of the world’s vaccines, stopped the export of Corona vaccines when the cases in India increased insanely, at the same time that Western countries buy the British AstraZeneca vaccine, which is manufactured in Indian factories and ban its use. After the confusion in communication about the side effects and clots caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine, led to a widespread reluctance to accept it, while the rate of clots caused by the vaccine is 4-6 per million recipients. This also added to the skepticism in the entire vaccination system, which means that the pandemic will continue for a longer time with a possibility of increasing its risk.
WHO warned of this disparity, while COVAX said in an urgent press release that it, need an additional two billion dollars, before the 2nd of June in order to be able to secure a vaccine thirty per cent of the population in the 92 poorest countries.
Then came the issue of the opposition of a number of countries, led by France and Germany, to the temporary lifting of vaccine patents demanded by countries such as India and South Africa in order to speed up the production of vaccines, but France, in return, offered to provide “grants” for the benefit of poor countries.
It is certain that developed countries will defeat this wave of the Corona pandemic with their capabilities and the vaccines available to them, but the continuous need for companies producing vaccines to ensure that their vaccine is effective against a mutation that resulted in India, for example, indicates only one thing: we do not know if the vaccines will work effectively on all future changes to the virus. How do we stop the mutations then? By vaccinating all the inhabitants of the planet, not just the inhabitants of our countries. Unless governments decide to keep border closures for years to come.
The above led to the most important communication failure, which came in the message that governments in developed countries did not intend to send, but the ways of dealing with the issue of vaccines led to it, “the lives of residents of developing countries are not important, as long as we in developed countries are able to protect ourselves.”
There is no way to stop this pandemic by continuing to work in the same ways and methods that contributed to its creation and exacerbation, and the light at the end of the tunnel will not be the preserve of one part of the world alone, either we all come out of this tunnel with solidarity, together, or we stay in it, together for a longer period.