Post by Rick Dasilva

COVID-19 continues to be a major controversy in 2021 with all the misinformation that has been given throughout multiple platforms. Although the number of COVID positive patients and COVID deaths continues to rise in parts of the US, there is still a large community of individuals who are against the vaccine.  Many people have used search engines like Google and social media platforms to educate themselves with nearly half of the search results showing anti-vaccination information. How can we educate people on the facts of the pandemic and the vaccine when we are up against all of this misinformation?

Anti-Vaccination Movement

  • Started in the early development of vaccines back in 1772 with reverends referring to vaccinations as “diabolical operations” and “sinful”.
  • In 1974 publications linked 36 cases of negative neurologic reactions to whole-cell pertussis vaccine in the UK and there was a drop in vaccination rate from 80% to 30% which lead to an outbreak.
  • Today, politicians and celebrities are using their voices on social media and in the news to influence the public against vaccination.
  • Google searches that show almost 50% of websites, articles, and even social media posts being in favor of anti-vaccination.
    • These websites and posts contained fear-based messages, using emotions and anecdotes from families with bad experiences.

What We Can Do

  • Lead by example:
    • Stay on top of the most recent and best evidence
    • Get vaccinated.
  • Use “sticky information” to help people understand the importance of getting vaccinated:
    • Sticky information is exactly what it sounds like. It’s information that will stick with the person
    • Many times statistics are not the stickiest, but can be effective in some cases
      • Ex: There were more deaths from COVID-19 than the attack on the World Trade Center and in WWII.
    • Try using simple fact-based anecdotes

With all this misguided and incorrect information being provided it can be challenging to educate people about the severity and consequences that come with not taking COVID-19 seriously. However, counseling patients and others about the importance of vaccination needs to be taken as a procedure of its own kind. If not, COVID will continue to spread as fast as misinformation.

 

Listen to Clinical Grind 12 Dealing with Covid Misinformation

 

About Our Guest:

Dr. Marco Propersi is an Assistant Clinical Professor at St Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey.

 

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References:

  1. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
  2. https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/05/27/863401430/poll-shows-only-a-quarter-of-african-americans-plan-to-get-coronavirus-vaccine
  3. Connolly T, Reb J. Toward interactive, Internet-based decision aid for vaccination decisions: better information alone is not enough. Vaccine. 2012;30(25):3813-3818. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.12.094https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22234264/
  4. Downs JS, de Bruin WB, Fischhoff B. Parents’ vaccination comprehension and decisions. Vaccine. 2008 Mar 17;26(12):1595-607. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.01.011. Epub 2008 Feb 8. PMID: 18295940https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18295940/
  5. Hussain A, Ali S, Ahmed M, Hussain S. The Anti-vaccination Movement: A Regression in Modern Medicine. Cureus. 2018;10(7):e2919. Published 2018 Jul 3. doi:10.7759/cureus.2919https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30186724/
  6. https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/22/health/anti-vaxxers-old-arguments-covid-19-wellness-partner/index.html
  7. Neurological complications of pertussis inoculation . Kulenkampff M, Schwartzman JS, Wilson J. Arch Dis Child. 1974;49:46–49. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/4818092/
  8. Deer B. How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed. BMJ. 2011;342:c5347. Published 2011 Jan 5. doi:10.1136/bmj.c5347 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21209059/
  9. Burki T. The online anti-vaccine movement in the age of COVID-19. Lancet Digit Health. 2020;2(10):e504-e505. doi:10.1016/S2589-7500(20)30227-2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32984795/
  10. Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2007). Made to stick: Why some ideas survive and others die. New York: Random House.
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  12. Keelan J, Pavri-Garcia V, Tomlinson G, Wilson K. YouTube as a source of information on immunization: a content analysis. JAMA. 2007;298(21):2482-2484. doi:10.1001/jama.298.21.2482.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18056901/
  13. Weaponized health communication: Twitter bots and Russian trolls amplify the vaccine debate. Am J Public Health. 2018;108:1378-1384 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30138075/
  14. Tomeny TS, Vargo CJ, El-Toukhy S. Geographic and demographic correlates of autism-related anti-vaccine beliefs on Twitter, 2009–15. Soc Sci Med. 2017;191:168–175. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28926775/
  15. Schwartz JL. Vaccines and the Trump administration—reasons for optimism amid uncertainty. Am J Public Health. 2017;107:1892-1893. doi:0.2105/AJPH.2017.304111 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29048968/
  16. Horne Z, Powell D, Hummel JE, Holyoak KJ. Countering antivaccination attitudes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015;112(33):10321-10324. doi:10.1073/pnas.1504019112 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26240325/
  17. Johnson DK, Mello EJ, Walker TD, Hood SJ, Jensen JL, Poole BD. Combating Vaccine Hesitancy with Vaccine-Preventable Disease Familiarization: An Interview and Curriculum Intervention for College Students. Vaccines (Basel). 2019;7(2):39. Published 2019 May 12. doi:10.3390/vaccines7020039https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31083632/
  18. Lunz Trujillo K, Motta M, Callaghan T, Sylvester S. Correcting Misperceptions about the MMR Vaccine: Using Psychological Risk Factors to Inform Targeted Communication Strategies. Political Research Quarterly. March 2020. doi:10.1177/1065912920907695 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1065912920907695

 

Clinical Grind 12 Dealing with COVID Misinformation

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