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How to Counter the “Infodemic” of Misinformation About COVID-19 Vaccines

With about one-third of adults in the U.S. still completely unvaccinated and new cases of COVID-19 rapidly on the rise due to the Omicron variant, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has called for a war against “health misinformation.” Murthy released an urgent advisory about the infodemic, describing it as a severe threat prolonging the pandemic and putting “lives at risk.”

In a recent NACHC-sponsored webinar, “Pushing Back on the Digital Spread of COVID-19”, Dr. Joe Smyser, CEO of the Public Good Projects (PGP), explained that while the anti-vaccine movement has been around for a long time, it has completely transformed during the pandemic. “Pre-pandemic, anti-vaccine campaigns mainly organized around personalities,” said Smyser.” Now most of the anti-vaccine movement centers around real-world events. It’s a better-organized and well-funded global movement.”

UNICEF, PGP, and the Yale Institute for Global Health have partnered to create a COVID-19 misinformation guide to help public health professionals combat the infodemic. This guide is designed to help organizations develop strategies and action plans to counter vaccine misinformation and build demand for vaccinations.

While Murthy called on all Americans to do their part to fight the infodemic, public health responders and Community Health Centers play a special role. Montalvo explains, “Health centers are a trusted voice with strong relationships in the community. We need to inoculate our patients against these viral messages. When we provide accurate information, it resonates and helps vaccination strategies work.”

Learn more about the pandemic of misinformation.

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