- Mahak Jain
Ramesh Chaurasia: Stopping the spread of misinformation about vaccination during the Covid pandemic
The Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha was on the front lines throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Whether it was spreading awareness or getting people quick help, Mr Ramesh Chaurasia was leading the movement with high spirits. It was a difficult time for all people but it was noticed that the underprivileged sections of each community were suffering the most. The organization made it its goal to help all members of the Chaurasia-Tamboli community who needed any guidance or assistance during the Covid pandemic.
Talking about the problems faced by their team during the pandemic, Mr Ramesh Chaurasia said, “It is common for anxiety and paranoia to spread like wildfire during a pandemic. A lot of factors add to this which can lead to emotional unrest among small communities. This can in turn lead to the spread of unscientific information or conspiracy theories about the illness and the treatments associated with it. It was very important to make sure that our community fought this together as a single unit. We prevented the spread of misinformation because many sections of our society depend solely upon other community members for help, information and advice. We tried to spread the right information and all necessary awareness regarding the importance of vaccination among all members of our community. We made sure that there was no fear psychosis among people regarding the illness. Our team worked round the clock with mental health experts who guided them to create effective awareness campaigns for the welfare of common people.”
The source of misinformation and its effects
It is common for anxiety and paranoia to spread like wildfire during a pandemic”
— Ramesh Chaurasia
It is known that due to the internet and freely available content on it, a lot of misinformation was spread during the covid period. There were a lot of people who were losing their jobs and there were others who were falling sick with no fall-back option for employment. It was an extreme period of distress for members of the underprivileged sections of society. A large population of people were in the need of fast relief because the scale and the pace of the pandemic was unprecedented. The leaders of the Mahasabha recognized it as a serious issue and decided to take quick actions to combat these issues.
Battling misinformation about vaccination
It was noticed that a substantial number of people were facing issues with booking vaccination slots and appointments. There were many who were not able to find suitable timings or locations for their vaccination centres. The members of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha made the process simpler by helping people in booking appropriate appointment slots at the nearest locations or vaccination centres. The team also appointed and worked with popular members or influential members of the community to spread positive awareness about the results of vaccination among people. Special teams were created by the women’s wing of the Mahasabha to spread positive awareness among women regarding vaccination and its importance.
“We found that a lot of people were naturally hesitant to take the vaccine at first. It was widely observed that the vaccination rate of a community or locality depended upon the willingness of its people to motivate others to take the vaccine. It was a matter of trust. It was essential to eliminate misinformation about the disease and the available treatments to ensure that people were not taking the wrong decisions out of fear. Doctors were brought in to explain the benefits of vaccination along with the minor side effects as well. It was the leaders of our organization who set an example by getting vaccinated first and this motivated the rest of the community to join them. It was truly proven that there is strength in unity and nothing is impossible if we come together.”- A senior member of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha shared their experience of how they managed to spread awareness among the Chaurasia community.
It was with the consistent efforts of Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia, the members of the Mahasabha, and the whole community that even the most vulnerable members of the community were able to fight the pandemic without giving up. A lot of people from the Chaurasia community started small businesses and even generated employment for other members of the community despite losing their primary source of income. With the right leadership and motivation within the people, remarkable change is possible.