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?
- 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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