The Corona Expert Council is dissatisfied with parts of the pandemic policy. In its fifth statement, the panel calls for improvements in communication.
Berlin – The expert council of the federal government* has sometimes criticized aspects of the corona policy harshly. Most citizens wanted to “actively contribute to ending the pandemic,” according to the committee’s current statement. However, there is currently a “lack of consistency between the available information, its assessments and the resulting recommendations.” In other words: the decisions of the federal government are not (always) understandable for the people in the country.
The verdict of the experts: “This contributes to the uncertainty of the population, offers a target for misinformation and disinformation, undermines trust in government action and endangers the success of important health protection measures.”
Corona Expert Council criticizes communication: “No institution can do that”
Successful health communication must simply explain scientific evidence and translate it into recommendations for action, the statement goes on to say. However, “no institution in Germany” is currently able to do this. Although the “fact-based and action-oriented information of the population in health crises is indispensable”. The Expert Council therefore recommends “improving current communication”.
This “recommendation” is also to be understood as a rebuke by the current federal government. Political Berlin sees itself – no matter what color – confronted with the sluggish progress of the vaccination campaign. Vaccination was already a problem under the leadership of the Union, but now the goal declared by Chancellor Olaf Scholz* to have 80 percent of the people vaccinated by the end of January (as of January 31: 74 percent) is failing.
Scholz recently launched a new vaccination campaign, specifically a poster with the inscription “Vaccination helps”. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the information offensive was developed by the two agencies Scholz & Friends and Cosmonaut & Kings. The ministry put the budget for the months of January to March at 60 million euros*.
Corona expert advice: Four points required for correct communication
For the expert council it is clear: Corona communication has to change. According to the statement, four closely interlocking building blocks are necessary for “technically sound and evidence-based health communication”:
- 1. the bringing together and generation of the best available knowledge
- 2. the translation of relevant data into target group-specific and understandable information formats. The statement states, among other things: “The goals should be education and not advertising or persuasion (“persuasion”).”
- 3. Communication via the various channels of a modern information society
- 4. Review of the effects achieved and, if necessary, adjustment of the strategy
Expert advice: “Inadequate digitization is a major obstacle”
According to the statement, the Expert Council therefore recommends “improving current communication and information offerings according to the principles described above”. It’s also about the digital realm. “The corona pandemic has made the lack of availability of important data in comparison to other countries obvious,” write the experts and calculate the deficits in the health system. “All in all, the lack of digitization in the health system in Germany is a major obstacle – not least for successful communication.” The topic of digitization was also recently discussed at the federal-state meeting. The decision paper* talks about “short and medium-term measures in the field of digitization”.
Overall, the corona pandemic is “just one of several collective and global health crises to which society must react.” For the future, this means: “There is a need to set up a sustainable infrastructure in order to provide the population with evidence-based, fast and effective information and to support them in their risk and action competence.”
The opinion of the Expert Council was unanimously signed by 18 people. The panel actually consists of 19 experts. It is still unclear why a person was missing this time. A corresponding press inquiry from IPPEN.MEDIA remained unanswered as of Monday afternoon. (as) *Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA