WASHINGTON – In testimony to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today, American Medical Association (AMA) Immediate Past President Susan R. Bailey, M.D., will outline critical steps to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch the hearing live at 10 a.m. ET by clicking here.
Testifying in person, Dr. Bailey will discuss the rampant spread of medical misinformation and disinformation related to the pandemic and how it is conveyed as real news. While social media has the potential to provide accurate health information, during the pandemic, it has contributed to vaccine hesitancy by spreading “information” of dubious origin.
“The role of social media in allowing misinformation/disinformation to spread rapidly and unchecked must be acknowledged,” Dr. Bailey said in her statement for the record. “This allows medical misinformation to be conveyed as real news. While social media has the potential to help provide accurate, evidence-informed health information, during the pandemic it has contributed significantly to vaccine hesitancy with very little being done, until recently, to combat the spread of blatantly false information.
“This has done tremendous damage to vaccine confidence in certain groups, such as women of child-bearing years—for example, rumors about vaccines impacting fertility have been rampant and difficult to overcome. In December 2020, the AMA wrote to the chief executive officers of leading technology companies, urging them to guard against disinformation that could derail the vaccination campaign and to remain vigilant against the proliferation of unintentional misinformation and purposeful disinformation on their platforms. The AMA further stressed how important it is for social media platforms to share timely, transparent, and accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines from public health institutions like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC that are rooted in science and evidence.”
Dr. Bailey also will discuss what the AMA has learned about preventing disparities in vaccine acceptance in different communities and preventing disparities going forward, subjects covered in a recent physician-facing webinar.
Dr. Bailey’s testimony can be found here.
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