The increase in severe and extremely severe cases of coronavirus infection, the increase in mortality, the fact that it is beginning to affect those even younger in age do not wake people up.
Infectious disease doctor Liana Ghazaryan says that the heavier the Armenian experience in overcoming the virus, the more the wave against vaccinations expands and goes beyond the realm of myths.
The myth, according to her, can be discussed, observed, countered in any way, but mainly the majority of information on this topic in the Internet domain is like a delusion.
Of course, it would be good if such behavior was also analyzed professionally, maybe we should make very important discoveries and use them to organize the right information campaign.
And this chaotic situation, according to the expert, will not be peaceful until a unified information system for the fight against coronavirus is formed.
As an expert, what do you think about the information field? Has the state really lost the struggle on this front?
It would be wrong to say that nothing is being done, people are not being preached to, guided and advised. There are two questions here: A certain group of people completely closes themselves to the information coming from state structures and specialists. They do not want to hear anything, because it is so convenient for them or this or that circle (even professional) has guided them so.
Second, people are not able to get answers to their questions in a systematic way. Maybe they are lazy, in fact, if you search well on the Internet, you can get any information on the topic of coronavirus. Unfortunately, the local content is not enough.
I think it would be good to bring all the information to a platform where state structures, non-governmental organizations, and medical institutions will concentrate their efforts. That is, to have a unified information system with official information, scientific articles, statistics, questions and answers about people’s concerns, etc.
It is important to try to change the way information is provided, quality, frequency. We may make mistakes, but we must try.
There are some people who come, are treated, return home, not accepting that they have been infected and have overcome the virus. They condition everything with concomitant diseases. There is such ignorance.
Much depends on the doctors, they are rarely seen on reliable media platforms.
For many doctors, the topic of coronavirus has become an occasion to become famous, to gain some political dividends.
To be honest, the doctors involved in the diagnosis, treatment and clinical trials of the infection simply do not have time to appear in the media. If there is a unified information system as I mentioned, maybe we will see the doctors fighting against the infection on a regular basis.
The doctors are already exhausted from their physical and psychological condition for a year and a half.
Besides, I think it is impossible for the doctor working in the hospital to be able to access the media at any moment, to respond to various pieces of misinformation, to try to cover the propaganda gaps.
There are doctors who are against vaccinations and advise people not to take that step. How are we meant to orient ourselves in the end?
Unprofessional behavior, such as that of some physicians, prevents vaccines from alleviating the epidemic. I have nothing to say here, it is another matter for discussion.
Yes, people today do not have the answers to their questions. There are many posts on coronavirus in different professional groups on Facebook, sometimes I come across questions and I want to orient myself professionally.
But before it is my turn to speak, real and fake users appear and start carrying out anti-vaccination propaganda. And in this huge number of comments, the posts of me or other experts are so few that they are often ignored.
Do local experts have the answers to people’s questions?
There are basic answers, but we need to keep in mind that we are dealing with a new, rapidly spreading, unpredictable type of virus that is being studied all over the world every minute.
Foreign professional platforms often update the results of research. Some translations may also be provided for the local audience. It is probably the case of the media, which does not seem to be seriously interested in this topic today.
What important thing are we missing, maybe the problem is not only in the information field?
It is safe to say that the problem is not only in the information field.
There is a huge resource of trust in doctors in European countries. The doctor calls the person to be vaccinated, and without thinking long and hard, trusting his doctor, he takes that step.
We can not say the same in the case of Armenia, there is a doctor’s institute, but there is no respect for it, as it is very material-oriented, often associated with money, corruption and other vicious phenomena.
Various levers, including the insurance system, assist the vaccination process abroad.
In some countries, if a person is not vaccinated, the insurance premium increases several times. And you will meet few people in developed countries without health insurance.
There is an opinion that in order to wake people up, it is often necessary to show infected people, who are fighting for their lives in hospitals.
I do not agree, because it has not yet been assessed what effect it can actually have on the audience. People may have more questions, anxious feelings, doubts, which will complicate the situation even more.
Here we are dealing with people’s personal space and rights. In my practice, it has always been the case that people refused to communicate with the media because they were not physically ready to talk to journalists either.
I think it is worth thinking about filtering information.
I technically have no idea how, but you can gather specialists and discuss this option with them as well. The cases are increasing, there have been no free beds for a long time and people are waiting in line for hospitalization.
After all, the state has different levers, it is necessary to use several at the same time. Procrastination costs lives.
Interview by Gayane Asryan
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