COVID-19 vaccine success dependent on public trust: WHO chief

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The success of any COVID-19 vaccine will be dependent on public trust, according to the World Health Orgaizatio (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom.

Tedros made the remarks on Wednesday in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly side event on infodemic management.

The WHO chief called on stakeholders to ensure timely and accurate information reaches the world in order to help diffuse misinformation which hardens the fight against the pandemic.

“Even if we are successful with the science, even the most effective vaccine will fail if the public does not have confidence in it,” said Tedros.

“This is why it is so important we work together to provide the public and policymakers with accurate information and stop the spread of falsehoods that undermine this response.”

Tedros also called on all countries to put in place national action plans to promote science-based health information and to combat misinformation.

He noted that there were instances where some people had caused themselves harm simply by acting on false information, adding that others in need of care could not access it due to stigmatization caused by untruths.

As the COVID-19 pandemic battered the world, many people around the world were gripped with fear for their lives. In this state, some fell for false information on self-medication, including the ingestion of disinfectant and toxic methanol.

Tedros in his address on Wednesday called upon people to rely on science in their response to the pandemic.

“Misinformation also has an impact on trust – trust in science, trust in institutions, and trust in health systems,” he said.