The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is tackling the problem of
vaccine hesitancy with an innovative programme aimed specifically at the region’s
CARPHA has launched a regional online schools’ game show aimed at improving
the public’s understanding, especially young people and their parents, about
COVID-19 and vaccination processes. The COVID-19 and Immunisation game
show, entitled “Take Your Best Shot,” also promoted routine immunisation for
better overall health and well-being.
This unique pilot project, which was funded by the United States Agency for
International Development, Eastern and Southern Caribbean (USAID/ESC) and the
United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – Eastern Caribbean, saw
students from eight secondary schools in two Caribbean states – Guyana and St.
Lucia compete for grand prizes.
In its five-year strategic plan, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified
vaccine hesitancy as one of the ten global health threats the world faces in 2019
and beyond. Vaccine hesitancy has been defined by the WHO Strategic Advisory
Group of Experts (SAGE) working group as the “delay in acceptance or refusal of
vaccination despite the availability of vaccination services.”
Dr. Joy St. John, CARPHA Executive Director explained, “Historically, the
Caribbean had one of the best immunisation records in the world. However, recent
studies indicated that routine immunisations had been declining due to the
hesitancy caused by misinformation.” Dr. St. John added that COVID-19 heavily
exacerbated the situation, resulting in doubt about the efficacy of vaccines in
In light of this, CARPHA, in partnership with USAID and UNICEF, created this
innovative public education programme to share accurate, evidence-based
information that would combat misinformation, address concerns, and improve
understanding about vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine.