Vaccine acceptance in rural India: Engaging faith leaders as vaccine ambassadors
Introduction: Religious faith is a key marker of identity and shapes community perspectives and trust. Faith leader involvement in vaccine campaigns in India have been beneficial to counter misinformation regarding infectious diseases such as polio. Faith leaders are influential stakeholders who bear potential to enhance public confidence in vaccine campaigns.
Context: While vaccine coverage has been increasing in India, inequities abound, especially in populations with historically low vaccine confidence. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to major disruptions in delivery of routine immunization services for children. To address these challenges, we co-designed interventions aimed at contextual communication strategies and peer support. Engaging faith leaders was an important part of this intervention. In this report we describe our experience and highlight the perspectives of faith leaders and their expectations of the outcomes for this intervention.