Alarm over the impact of COVID-19 misinformation has been growing, especially with increasing efforts by right-wing groups to spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
The effort to end the pandemic through vaccination could stall if too many people refuse to take the vaccine because they don’t have the correct facts to make a decision. It can be a daily battle by journalists to correct false statements on social media — especially for those on the fact-checking beat.
“It is hard to stay on top of everything,” Daniel Funke, staff writer at PolitiFact, a non-partisan fact-checking website, said during a recent How I Did It interview for AHCJ. “We don’t have a great way to quantify misinformation and where it is coming from because we’d have to fact check everything on the internet.” Continue reading
A recent survey of family caregivers revealed some troubling information about the divide between rural and urban communities regarding COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the poll, nearly one in three (31%) family caregivers who live in rural communities say they won’t take the older adult under their care to get the COVID-19 vaccine—nearly double the refusal rate of urban and suburban caregivers (16%). About the same number (36%) of rural caregivers say they won’t get vaccinated themselves.
Safety concerns primarily drive caregivers’ unwillingness to get the vaccine for their loved ones and themselves, according to survey respondents. Among the rural family caregivers surveyed, an overwhelming 81% have doubts that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and more than a quarter (28%) are “not at all confident” in the vaccine’s safety. In comparison, 9% of their urban and suburban peers are not at all confident. Taken together, experts say the findings show how difficult it will be to save lives in communities where access to healthcare is already limited. Continue reading
Just a day after AstraZeneca announced long-awaited interim results from its U.S. phase 3 trial earlier this week, the company again became mired in controversy about what’s going on with its vaccine.
The trial’s Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) — a group of independent experts who monitor the safety and efficacy of a drug or intervention during a trial — sent a memo to the company and government health officials, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), contesting the company’s portrayal of its vaccine’s efficacy. Continue reading
National Association of Broadcasters
When it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, Americans want to know more about safety and potential side-effects (including any possible long-term impact on fertility), as well as the logistics of getting their shot, according to a recent survey, according to a new survey.
Media research firm SmithGeiger conducted the survey, which was partially funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. It was shared first with AHCJ members during a March 17 webcast about potential story ideas for journalists covering the vaccine rollout and efforts by public health leaders to boost confidence in the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. Continue reading
Photo: GovernmentZA via FlickrSouth African officials inspect a shipment of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The World Health Organization (WHO) currently estimates that ending the COVID-19 pandemic will require at least 70% of the world’s 7.8 billion population to have immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which may take until 2023 or longer given the logistical challenges of getting a vaccine from manufacturing plants into people’s arms around the world.
Wealthier nations have contracted with vaccine makers to buy more than half of the world’s COVID-19 vaccine supply of 8.2 billion doses as of mid-February, while less affluent countries have purchased only about 16 percent of the supply, according to Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center. Just 10 countries had administered 75 percent of all vaccine doses, and 130 countries hadn’t administered any doses, the WHO said. Continue reading