Building public confidence in vaccines in general and the COVID-19 vaccines in particular has never been more important. To end the pandemic, the vast majority of the United States and world population will need to have immunity to SARS-CoV-2. The only way to do that without seeing an enormous increase in the already staggering loss of life caused by the novel coronavirus is to achieve herd immunity through vaccination.
Throughout the pandemic, however, surveys have indicated that many Americans have no intention of getting a shot to protect themselves and others from the virus. “While reports show increasing receptivity to getting a COVID vaccine, about one in five Americans still say they are not planning to get one, or would only if required,” said John Whyte, MD, WebMD’s chief medical officer. “The issue of vaccine hesitancy is also of particular concern in communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.”
For many people, that hesitancy is attributable to insufficient or inaccurate information about the vaccines. To increase confidence in the vaccine, WebMD has launched the WebMD Covid-19 Vaccine Misinformation Center. The online resource features articles and videos that offer reliable information to enable consumers to make rational decisions based on science, not TikTok.
Topics addressed include vaccine myths and how they spread, public health challenges, and how social media amplifies dangerous misinformation. Medscape, a division of WebMD Health Corp., also provides reliable information including vaccine overviews, updates on vaccine development, and breaking news on vaccine research.
WebMD and Medscape have joined forces with HealthGuard as well as corporate, nonprofit and media leaders to create and fund a global public service campaign. Called VaxFacts, the campaign aims to flag and effectively counter false information by using a browser extension that identifies health hoaxes, rates the credibility of hundreds of websites, and redirects users to trusted sources of vaccine information. The tool was developed by NewsGuard, an organization that battles misinformation in the news more broadly. To date, HealthGuard has identified nearly 400 websites that spread misinformation and circulate myths about COVID-19 vaccines.
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.