Combatting COVID-19 & Vaccine Misinformation
As Ohio continues efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible against COVID-19, OSMA is proud to support this and ensure member physicians have the information and tools they need to encourage vaccines and be vaccine providers. Physician efforts to keep patients properly informed about developments in the pandemic are especially critical now with the ongoing spread of the Delta variant.
We know many patients have been inundated with a sea of misinformation and deceptive claims, particularly online, making it more difficult for people with questions to find trustworthy and reliable information about the pandemic and the COVID-19 vaccines. This has undermined public support and trust for preventative health measures, including community-wide protection through vaccination.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has called COVID-19 misinformation an “urgent threat” that is putting many lives at risk and prolonging the pandemic. A poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier this summer indicated that 2 in 3 unvaccinated adults either believed persistent COVID-19 vaccine myths, or were unsure about their validity.
What can the physician community do to help?
OSMA members continue to express deep concerns about complacency, fear, and confusion stemming from misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines leading to tragic results. Unfortunately, several recent legislative endeavors have not helped matters by sowing distrust and giving dangerous conspiracy theories and misinformation a platform at the Statehouse.
“Vaccine misinformation is certainly not a new phenomenon, but it is especially unfortunate considering that we live in a time right now when vaccines are safer than ever,” OSMA President Dr. Lisa Bohman Egbert recently stated in written opponent testimony to the House Health Committee against House Bill 248, a broad anti-vaccination proposal that is causing serious alarm in the medical and business communities.
Physicians play an obvious and important role in empowering and informing the public with the information they need to make decisions that impact their health and the health of those around them. Research still shows that despite all the upheaval and misleading information overload, most Americans still trust their own doctor for information about the pandemic and the COVID-19 vaccines. Strong recommendations by physicians for patients to be vaccinated can still be incredibly influential.
Below, OSMA has compiled resources for physicians on fighting COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation, including recommendations for how to talk to vaccine-hesitant patients about the COVID-19 vaccines.
- AMA – COVID-19 Vaccines: Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions
- AMA – How to Defeat COVID-19 Vaccines Misinformation with Facts, Science
- AMA – How Doctors Can Fight COVID-19 Misinformation
- Ohio.gov – Myths vs. Facts: COVID-19 Vaccine
- CDC: Talking with Patients about COVID-19 Vaccination
- CDC: COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit
- AAMC – Rumors, confusion, and conspiracies: Can doctors defeat COVID-19 misinformation?
- HHS.Gov – Confronting COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation
- JAMA Network - COVID-19 Conspiracies and Beyond: How Physicians Can Deal With Patients’ Misinformation
- HHS.gov – Surgeon General - Confronting Health Misinformation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on Building a Healthy Information Environment