Monday, April 13, 2020

NWV Fights COVID-19 Misinformation

It is hard to escape the very serious situation that has been going on around the world these past few months and will likely continue for several more. To add to the actual medical problem are the rebound effects of social distancing and isolation. Humans by their very nature are social beings and remaining this isolated for this long is difficult even for the introverts of the world. One of the benefits of the 21st century in this regard is the internet and social media. It keeps us together in the virtual world despite having to remain physically apart. Social media and other healthcare related apps have allowed medical providers to implement telehealth to continue to see and treat patients without undue risk, allowed isolated nursing home residents to “visit” with family members and allowed government and medical institutions to rapidly disseminate critical information.

Sadly, along with the good comes the bad. There have been numerous posts on social media with incorrect, unverifiable information copied and pasted repeatedly. Often, they start with leading statements such as “From a Stanford Researcher” or “From a John’s Hopkins Infectious Disease expert”. Many offer ways to avoid infection with supplements, herbal remedies or alkaline diets. Some offer ways to prevent getting sick if you are exposed using gargling, specific diets or supplements, allowing a high fever to continue to kill the virus, etc.

We at Nurses Who Vaccinate are no strangers to the way in which misinformation can spread like wildfire across social media and often appear to be credible at first glance. We have been dealing with dispelling misinformation regarding vaccination for years and the way CoVid19 misinformation spreads is no different. Many who share these “copy/pasta” posts are well intentioned. People are concerned and some downright frightened by what they see on the news. They want to help and want people to feel like something is still within their power to fight this disease that is cruelly ravaging the world. What concerns us at Nurses Who Vaccinate is that sharing misinformation is at best useless, and at worst can cause harm by giving people false hope, avoiding appropriate medical care or direct injury by using non evidence-based remedies.

Please be wary of any posts on social media that claim to be from credible medical authorities without a link to the institution mentioned. DO NOT share any of them without verifying the source and the source’s source. We at Nurses Who Vaccinate promise to only share accurate, evidence-based information, from credible sources with citation to support them. If we do not have the answers at the ready, we do have access to numerous credible resources that can help us find accurate information.

As always, we encourage you to continue to vaccinate your children and yourselves as per recommendations from the ACIP and your physician. Now is not the time to skip vaccines as a measles outbreak on top of CoVid19 would be especially devastating

Below are several links to credible sites addressing some misinformation currently circulating on social media.

Coronavirus: Johns Hopkins Expertise- Coronavirus Myths, Rumors and Misinformation

WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

Harvard University Health Publishing- Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus

CDC’s Coronavirus Disease Page - Facts about coronavirus disease

Our thoughts are with you all during this difficult time

Love to you all from 6 feet away,

Lori Boyle, MSN, APN, CWS, WCC
Lori has been in nursing for more than 20 years. While in graduate school, she became aware of how many people were misunderstanding the science of vaccination and falling for misinformation. Since that time she has made it her mission to help people understand that the value and safety of vaccination as recommended, far outweighs the risks. In addition to Nurses Who Vaccinate she is also a member of Voices for Vaccines and the NJ Immunization Network.

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