In the words of Hadeel Al-Zoubi: “Vaccination is key to overcome the pandemic and we should be aware of misinformation spreading around us”
UN Women joined inter-agency efforts to implement a ‘Two-Way Communication’ initiative on the COVID-19 vaccine at the community level in Jordan. Hadeel Al- Zoubi, Senior Camp Assistant, is one of UN Women’s 40 staff members, partners and beneficiaries who is fighting misinformation, expanding on the ground community outreach, and engaging vulnerable women in active conversation about the vaccine.
When the coronavirus first hit, everyone feared this unknown pandemic. We did not know what to expect, especially during the lockdown when many people started working remotely. As a frontline worker in the refugee camps, I supported more than 300 vulnerable women on a weekly basis. I could see the burden of confinement measures progressively increasing for them, particularly for the mothers. I was constantly worried that I might be the one to transmit the virus to the women or to get infected myself.
It was only in 2021 that I felt a sense of relief when the Government announced that vaccines will be available. However, at the beginning, I was hesitant to take the vaccine.
There was so much misinformation at that time. I started to read more about it, to do some research. After one session organized by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator office and WHO, where a doctor explained the scientific facts, I decided to get the vaccine.
My mother did not want to take the vaccine as she heard it would have affected her DNA. But when she saw me getting vaccinated, she asked me to register her in the platform as well. I encouraged both my family and our beneficiaries to take the vaccine, serving as an example for them and providing support to complete the online registration.
After completing the two-way communication training, I feel I now have access to the right tools and sources to tackle fake news during this critical period. I started to share via our WhatsApp groups verified information on COVID-19 and the vaccine with Syrian refugee women enrolled in UN Women’s Oasis centers in refugee camps. It was important to have a safe virtual space to share correct information from trusted sources. This is in addition to our own awareness material and the Elakwofeed campaign by the Ministry of Health!
As I usually tell the women I serve: the COVID-19 vaccine is like any other vaccine we take during our life. Vaccination is key to overcome the pandemic and we should be aware of fake news and disinformation spreading around us.”
Available in Arabic here.