U.S.: Covid Vaccine Misinformation Spread on Social Media
As the U.S. ramps up its vaccine production and distribution, misinformation about the vaccines is ramping up as well. “We are receiving mis- and disinformation from numerous sources in social media and many other places,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Turan News.
Speaking before reporters during a virtual press briefing organised by the State Department’s Foreign Press Centre, Walensky stated that, while vaccine misinformation itself is not new, “we have never seen such a volume of misinformation about a vaccine as we see for those for COVID-19, and this is our hill to climb together.”
“Accurate information alone is not sufficient to combat misinformation. We need to better understand the underlying concerns that may explain why some misinformation is actually gaining traction, and we must communicate with people with empathy and respect, hearing their concerns and combating them with science-based responses or truth in convenience and policy,” she said.
Walensky refrained from naming the names when asked about reports on Russia-backed organised disinformation campaigns targeting Covid vaccines.
Misinformation, she said, is usually spread because people have questions. Washington is “trying to combat mis- and disinformation and meet people where they are.”
“We’re launching a very large-scale media campaign, educational campaign, understanding – and trusted messenger campaign so that people understand from these trusted messengers exactly how that the vaccine is safe and effective.”
The fundamental fact is that COVID-19 vaccines are “a key tool that will help us bring an end to this pandemic, and we are getting more real-world evidence each day that demonstrates how important these vaccines are,” she explained.
CDC is taking “steps to restore U.S. leadership on global health,” she claimed.
The U.S. has been committed to supporting prevention, preparedness, and response efforts globally in partnership with the World Health Organisation, public health agencies, health ministry counterparts, and multilateral and nongovernmental organisations worldwide.
“We work collaboratively with more than 60 countries to strengthen the ability of partner nations to detect and respond to disease threats as close to their source as possible,” she said.