The Princeton based Rita Allen Foundation financed a study on covid misinformation on social media and how it impacts specific communities. The combined research is meant to provide insight to journalists, researchers and people in public health who want to understand and potentially act on problematic vaccine narratives as they relate to Hispanic people in the US. Perth Amboy is looking into developing its own Health Department, and this department could use this study to help strengthen our COVID response.
The study, A Limiting Lens: How Vaccine Misinformation Has Influenced Hispanic Conversations Online, has shown that anti vaccination narratives concerning alleged “alternative treatments” were found to be among the most influential vaccine misinformation in Spanish-language online spaces. Narratives concerning the safety of Covid-19 vaccines were among the most widespread and impactful misinformation on social media. Additionally, satirical and sarcastic posts featured heavily in vaccine-related Spanish-language conversations on social media. Mocking the vaccine information to discredit it has been common.
If you look anywhere online in Perth Amboy circles, you can see these types of comments under both English and Spanish posts about getting the vaccine. Confronting this misinformation can help save lives in Perth Amboy. Hispanic people face a greater risk of catching and dying from COVID in the US. Spreading misinformation about the vaccine can impact others belief systems and may result in them not getting vaccinated based on the misinformation.
An action step to stop the spread of misinformation on covid vaccines on social media is to delete the comments or posts that contain any of the false narratives listed above. Local, county, state and city health posts could have comments disabled under health information so as to stop the spread of false vaccine information. A local health department could help to develop a strategy to increase the vaccination rate by addressing misinformation about the vaccine and help protect the community.