Vaccination campaigns and fake news: a historic challenge – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology
This article was written exclusively for The European Sting by Ms. Natiele Ilucenski Marques and Emanoelle Aparecida Palangani, two 3rd year medical students at Centro Universitário Ingá (UNINGÁ), Brazil. They are affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this article are strictly the property of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IFMSA on the subject, nor of The European Sting.
In 2020, the world faced one of the most serious health crises, caused by a new virus, SARS-CoV-2. However, the fight against infectious diseases that have given rise to pandemics is not recent in history, as the world has already faced pandemics that have decimated hundreds of lives, for example, the bubonic plague, caused by the bacteria Yersinia Pestis and which ravaged countries in Asia and European continents. SARS-CoV-2, on the other hand, is responsible for causing COVID-19, an acute respiratory illness that the World Health Organization (WHO) says has killed more than a million people. in the world.
As in the past, the lack of specific treatments based on scientific studies makes it even more difficult to control the pandemic. However, nowadays, advanced technologies allow to study the virus from different angles, which facilitates several scientific discoveries. So there was a process unprecedented in the history of the world, the production of vaccines over a period of 12 to 18 months. In this way, vaccines have become the most accessible and promising hope for humanity, ensuring immunity against the coronavirus and less concerned about the pandemic and all its implications.
However, just as technologies have given us the hope of the vaccine, they have also facilitated access to fake news, which affects a large part of the population, causing fear and mistrust in the face of current problems, not to mention Sars- CoV-2 and your vaccination. This compilation of fake news has been titled by the World Health Organization (WHO) “infodemic”, which contributes to the increase in cases and deaths from Covid-19. A fairly common example of this fact is the false news that the vaccine can cause disease and even autism, where side effects are mistaken for disease, but they occur in much smaller proportions.
Therefore, in addition to countries facing vaccine shortage, hampered by large volume purchasing by countries with greater economic power, they also need to debunk several rumors about vaccines. The spread of false information about vaccines results in low demand for vaccines and can, therefore, encourage an increase in cases of diseases that had already ceased to be a problem, as well as failing to achieve adequate immunization coverage to minimize the effects of the pandemic. Since then, without a minimum vaccinated population, the production of a vaccine in historic record time has become irrelevant, minimizing global scientific research.
Therefore, at a time when COVID-19 has already claimed more than a million lives, all efforts in the world are needed to combat fake news. So unlike 1343, when technology could not prevent the millions of lives lost by the bubonic plague, it can now be effective against COVID-19, as long as human ignorance is overcome and science is valued. .
About the Author
Natiele Ilucenski Marques and Emanoelle Aparecida Palangani are two 3rd year medical students at Centro Universitário Ingá (UNINGÁ). Since 2020, they have been active members of IFMSA BRAZIL through the local UNINGÁ committee. They believe that knowledge has the power to change the world. They believe what Charles H. Mayo once said: “There are two goals in medical education: to cure the sick and to promote science. Natiele and Emanoelle firmly believe that medicine is more than just learning but that it disseminates the acquired knowledge.