Mass Communication Project Topics

Mass Media as a Tool for Sensitizing the Public on Covid-19 Variant “omicron”

Mass Media as a Tool for Sensitizing the Public on Covid-19 Variant “omicron”

Mass Media as a Tool for Sensitizing the Public on Covid-19 Variant “omicron”


Objectives of the study

The main objective of the study is to assess mass media as a tool for sensitizing the public on Covid-19 variant “omicron”.

The specific objectives of the study are to:

  • Find out the level of awareness of the Covid-19 variant “Omicron” among the citizens of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
  • Identify media channels that provide the awareness on the Covid-19 variant “Omicron”.
  • Determine citizens’ perception of media sensitization of the Covid-19 variant “Omicron”.
  • Determine the level of compliance with the coronavirus pandemic information.



Conceptual review

Overview of Coronavirus

Coronavirus disease 2019 (abbreviated “COVID-19”) is an emerging respiratory disease that is caused by a novel coronavirus and was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, China 2021 (Abdallah and Lee, 2021). The disease is highly infectious, and its main clinical symptoms include fever, dry cough, fatigue, myalgia, and dyspnea. In China, 18.5% of the patients with COVID-19 develop to the severe stage, which is characterized by acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, difficult-to-tackle metabolic acidosis, and bleeding and coagulation dysfunction (Utibe, 2019).

The first infected patient who had clinical manifestations such as fever, cough, and dyspnea was reported on 12 December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Since then, 2019-nCoV has spread rapidly to other countries via different ways such as airline traveling and now, COVID-19 is the world’s pandemic problem (Felix, 2020).

Coronaviruses (CoV) infections are emerging respiratory viruses and known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) (Yin et al., 2019). CoV is zoonotic pathogens that can be transmitted via animal-to-human and human-to-human. Multiple epidemic outbreaks occurred during 2002 (SARS) with ~800 deaths and 2012 (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome: MERS-CoV) with 860 deaths (Lee, 2020). Approximately eight years after the MERS-CoV epidemic, the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China, has emerged as a global outbreak and significant public health issue. On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Astonishingly, in the first week of March, a devastating number of new cases have been reported globally, emerging as a pandemic. As of 9 March 2020, more than 110,000 confirmed cases across 105 countries and more than 3800 deaths have been reported (Philemon et al., 2020).

The COVID-19 is spread by human-to-human through droplets, feco-oral, and direct contact, with an incubation period of 2-14 days. So far, no antiviral treatment or vaccine has been recommended explicitly for COVID-19. Therefore, applying the preventive measure to control COVID-19 infection is the utmost critical intervention. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are the primary section in contact with patients and are an important source of exposure to the infected cases in the healthcare settings, thus, expected to be at a high risk of infections. By the end of January, the WHO and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have published recommendations for the prevention and control of COVID-19 for HCWs. Indeed, the WHO also initiated several online training sessions and materials on COVID-19 in various languages to strengthen the preventive strategies, including raising awareness, and training HCWs preparedness activities (Malik, 2020). In several instances, misunderstandings of HCWs delayed controlling efforts to provide necessary treatment, implicate rapid spread of infection in hospitals, and also may put the patients’ lives at risk. In this regard, the COVID-19 epidemic offers a unique opportunity to investigate the level of knowledge, and perceptions of HCWs during this global health crisis. Besides, we also explored the role of different information sources in shaping HCWs knowledge and perceptions on COVID-19 during this peak period.

It seems that the current widespread outbreak has been partly associated with a delay in diagnosis and poor infection control procedures. As transmission within hospitals and protection of healthcare workers are important steps in the epidemic, the understanding or having enough information regarding sources, clinical manifestations, transmission routes, and prevention ways among healthcare workers can play roles for this gal assessment (Malik, 2020). Since nurses are in close contact with infected people, they are the main part of the infection transmission chain and their knowledge of 2019-nCoV prevention and protection procedures can help prevent the transmission chain. Iran is one of the most epidemic countries for COVID-19 and there is no information regarding the awareness and attitude of Iranian nurses about this infectious disease 2021 (Abdallah and Lee, 2021).




Research design

The research method adopted for this study was the survey research design. According to Babbie (1990) cited in Akarika, Ukpe & Ikon (2019) survey is the best method available to the social scientist interested in collecting original data for describing a population too large to observe directly.

Population of the study

The population of a study is the represents the total number of individuals from whom the study data was gathered in the study area. The population of this study consisted of dwellers in Akwa Ibom state. Using the 2021 projection figure by the NPC, the population of Akwa Ibom State is 5,828,265 at the yearly growth rate of 3.4% (National Population Commission 2021).




Sociodemographic representation of respondents




Despite the seeming high level of awareness and citizens’ satisfaction with the level of media sensitization, majority of respondents did not comply with the coronavirus information because risk and crisis are equivocal and uncertain condition that create informational needs and deficiencies.

Mass media is a powerful tool to provide information to the general public and to promote positive environment during COVID pandemic, but it may also spread misleading information. Taking it as an advantage public can be motivated through social media to follow safe practices to contain the spread.

To conclude, public awareness campaigns can be recognized as the most efficient and effective means of communication that can reach a broad segment of the general public to inform them about the Corona Virus Pandemic disease. As a result, timely and effective health communication is always important, and it works as public health authorities employing social media platforms with the right message source and message type. Knowing the target’s media culture and habits is essential for effective promotional health campaign plans to raise awareness of public health and people behavioral change during Corona Virus disease.

In general, and by examining and criticizing the media and their characteristics in special and critical situations, effectiveness, efficiency, and reduction of media costs in a certain time and place can be a good choice to persuade the society with the necessary news and information. Mass and social media can be a right and friendly help for the people in reducing their stress, strain, anxiety, fear. They are also to provide the necessary and appropriate training in appropriate ways, at the right time and place, in a right method to the people and the society to promote and be diligent in developing the health of the community and not to spare any efforts. Therefore, it is necessary for the relevant institutions and organizations, especially the Ministry of Health and the Universities of Medical Sciences, to respond appropriately to hold training courses on recognizing channels for obtaining valid medical and health information and promoting the health literacy of individuals and different segments of society. It also seems necessary to launch a single channel on social media to inform people about self-awareness and self-care behaviors against the spread of coronavirus.


The health authorities via health care providers, who were identified by the people as the most trust source of information regarding information about COVID-19, should design interventions in terms of awareness campaigns via all types of multimedia to spread more transparent information about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. The awareness campaigns should also shed the light over the new technology that was utilized in the production of few of them in order to boost COVID-19 sensitization. Making the vaccine available for free or at subsidized prices by the government could as well enhance vaccines acceptance among the population.

Additionally, the study recommends that;

  • Though majority of respondents were satisfied with the level of media sensitization the low level of compliance calls for proactive measure by government and governmental agencies in other to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.
  • In these areas of digital revolution, the social media should be utilized as a major source of information on health issue since most people are tilling toward online media platform for their information needs.


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