MENU

American Medical Assoc appeals to Social Media Platforms

17 Mar, 2019
, Source:
The American Medical Association has followed Member of Congress  in appealing to technology company heads to ensure accurate information on vaccines(full letter below).  While I fully support an appeal to address some of amplifying algorithms and other technical mechanisms that inflate and cluster misleading information, is it not neglect of our responsibility as public health professionals to be instructing technology experts to “ensure that users have access to scientifically valid information on vaccination”? Doesn’t this issue instead call for a collaborative effort, bringing together relevant expertise?  It is time for public health professionals, technology experts, and some members of the public to sit around the same table to bring the best information, through  honest, rather than manipulated media, in a sensitive rather than seeming censored manner. Democracy matters. This approach may only harden the views of those who already feel they have no voice.
-HL
 
March 13, 2019
 
Dear CEOs of Leading Technology Companies:
 
At a time when vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly measles, are reemerging in the United States and threatening communities and public health, physicians across the country are troubled by reports of anti-vaccine related messages and advertisements targeting parents searching for vaccine information on your platforms. As physicians, we are concerned that the proliferation of this type of health-related misinformation will undermine sound science, further decrease vaccinations, and persuade people to make medical decisions that could spark the spread of easily preventable diseases.
 
With public health on the line and with social media serving as a leading source of information for the American people, we urge you to do your part to ensure that users have access to scientifically valid information on vaccinations, so they can make informed decisions about their families’ health. We also urge you to make public your plans to ensure that users have access to accurate, timely, scientifically sound information on vaccines.
 
We applaud companies that have already taken action, but encourage you to continue evaluating the impact of these policies and take further steps to address the issue as needed.
 
The overwhelming scientific evidence shows that vaccines are among the most effective and safest interventions to both prevent individual illness and protect public health. When immunization rates are high, people who cannot be protected directly by the vaccines are protected because they are not exposed to the disease. This includes children too young to receive vaccinations and people with medical contraindications.
 
The reductions we have seen in vaccination coverage threaten to erase many years of progress as nearly eliminated and preventable diseases return, resulting in illness, disability and death. In order to protect our communities’ health, it is important that people be aware not just that these diseases still exist and can still debilitate and kill, but that vaccines are a safe, proven way to protect against them.
 
As evident from the measles outbreaks currently impacting communities in several states, when people decide not to be immunized as a matter of personal preference or misinformation, they put themselves and others at risk of disease. That is why it is extremely important that people who are searching for information about vaccination have access to accurate, evidence-based information grounded in science.
 
Thank you for your attention to this critical, public health matter. We look forward to hearing from you.
 
Sincerely,
James L. Madara, MD
Executive Vice President, CEO
AMA  
 
 
 
This entry was posted on Sunday, March 17th, 2019 at 10:59 am and is filed under Blog.

Literature Literature archive

S Krishnaswamy, P Lambach, ML Giles 2019 HUMAN VACCINES & IMMUNOTHERAPEUTICS VOL. 15, NO. 4, 942–950
Editorial 2019 Lancet Adolescent Health Vol 3: 281
AHviid, JVinsløv Hansen, M Frisch,, et al 2019 Ann Intern Med 170(8):513-520.

Videos Video archive

VCP Research Fellow Emilie Karafillakis comments on the anti-vaccination movement, the role of social media and the importance of rebuilding trust. 

In this video Prof Larson explains what vaccine confidence is, the team’s work, and what needs to be done to restore vaccine confidence around the world.

As part of the LSHTM Vaccine Centre podcast series to celebrate World Immunization Week Prof Heidi Larson recorded an episode with about her work and the VCP.

Subscribe to our mailing list

Click here to go to our GDPR-compliant signup form.

The Vaccine Knowledge Project at the Oxford Vaccine Group