Importance of COVID-19 misinformation on social networks (4)

30 January, 2024

Thank you, Chris, for your comment. [ ]

I fully agree with your remarks. Even 10% of misinformation is too high and is a concern for people who work in the field of health journalism, as you do, or in communication (I work in Public Health communications). You are also right to point out that “infodemic” is not only about misinformation, but the overload of information. Yet, following the famous declaration by WHO General Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, many people have used this quite old word with this restricted meaning.

However, the respective share of accurate and erroneous information (often disinformation) is an aspect to take into consideration in Public Health, for example, for vaccination. If people are, let's say, exposed to 10% disinformation and 90% accurate information on COVID-19 vaccines, what are they going to believe? The main point of concern is the behavior they adopt: are they going to get vaccinated or not? And if they don’t, the question is: why don’t they get vaccinated? Is it an impact of misinformation? We have shown that in African countries, the uptake is very low, not because of wrong ideas about the vaccines, but because people don’t feel at risk for the disease (a disease of the North, of White people…). This work will be published shortly in the AJTMH.

Numerous studies are about the spread of mis- or disinformation on social networks. Other studies are qualitative studies on the rumors circulating in various populations and don’t give an evaluation of their prevalence. Very few studies have evaluated the impact of misinformation on COVID-19 vaccine uptake.


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HIFA profile: Bernard Seytre is a Consultant at BNSCommunication in France. Professional interests: Health communication and education. seytre AT