Henry Collis is the Deputy Director of National Security Communications in the UK Cabinet Office, where he leads cross-government planning and delivery of communication activity to achieve the UK’s national security objectives.
As part of the Cabinet Office, he has previously worked with partners around the world to share the UK approach to countering disinformation and has advised UK Government leadership on issues including defence reform, national security policy and anti-corruption; including conceiving, negotiating and delivering an International Sports Integrity Partnership for the Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016. Between 2010 and 2013 he was in Afghanistan advising senior military leadership on countering insurgent propaganda and foriegn influence activities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by a huge flood of disinformation surrounding the virus and the fight against it. The Information chaos wreaked on societies through the accelerated dissemination of misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories has been labelled as an ‘infodemic’ by the WHO. Still, some countries managed to have a successful vaccination strategy with both a fast pace of vaccination and a willingness to get vaccinated. Good strategic communication can save lives.
How to secure trust in vaccinations in a world flooded with disinformation and conspiracy theories? What have been the biggest challenges observed in preparing the societal trust in vaccination and what can we learn from them for the future?