Vaccine misinformation targets young people and parents, report finds

A new study from Public Health Wales has highlighted the groups of people who have fallen victim to vaccine misinformation online.

Results from the study, which were published on 17th October, found young people, parents of children under the age of 18, individuals receiving universal credit and transgender people, are more likely to witness vaccine misinformation and as a result refuse to get the injection.

syringe, healthcare, needle

Examples of misinformation spawning from vaccines have been most apparent with the Covid-19 jabs. False claims include that the vaccines contained ‘microchips’ which can be used to track and control people; the idea that they could cause infertility or death; claims that they could alter human DNA and claims that the pharmaceutical industry had fabricated the results of vaccine trials or covered up harmful side effects to boost its profits.

Against this backdrop, the results of the survey, which were published in the ‘Evaluation of Vaccination Information Resources’ report, found adults with disabilities, individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds, and parents of children under 18 exhibited lower levels of confidence in the safety of vaccines.

Following this, the report’s recommendations include implementing tailored resources that offer reassurance around vaccine safety and address community-specific concerns.

Currently, another Covid-19 booster jab and flu vaccines are being rolled out for the most vulnerable people in communities ahead of winter, so, squashing any false claims about what the injections could cause is vital to boost the number of people willing to receive them. 

Jasmin Chowdhury, senior public health practitioner at Public Health Wales, said: ‘The findings of this study clearly highlight the importance and need for unique resources designed for specific population groups to combat misinformation and address vaccine hesitancy, especially during a time where misinformation can spread extremely quickly online.

‘This report plays a crucial role in improving communication strategies and resources, and furthering our mission to protect public health through increased vaccine uptake by helping individuals make well-informed decisions.’

Following the survey, Public Health Wales have claimed they intend to use their findings to enhance public communications and develop resources that address vaccine hesitancy and combat misinformation.

Image: PhotoLizM

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Flu pandemic vaccine deal reached by UK government

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