Coronavirus (963) Stuck: Why vaccine rumours start - and why they don't go away

31 August, 2020

There is an interesting review in The Lancet of a new book by Heidi Larson: 'Stuck: Why vaccine rumours start - and why they don't go away'. Larson takes an anthropological perspective (the contribution of anthropologists to health generally and information issues specifically is huge).

Below are extracts. Full text here:

'The foundation that underpins vaccination acceptance is trust. Trust in the processes, practices, and policies of vaccine development, licensure, and manufacturing; in the policy makers who set vaccine recommendations; and in the health-care system—the doctors, nurses, and community immunisers who administer vaccines as part of routine care and during mass vaccination campaigns. Without understanding and addressing trust, efforts to improve vaccine confidence will be a steep climb.

'From this large body of work, Larson explores several important themes in Stuck: rumour, dignity, distrust, risk, emotional contagion, choice, the power of beliefs over facts, and the power of stories over data.

'The fact-checkers have taken on a Sisyphean challenge as they strive to ensure the integrity of the world's information ecosystem. But Larson asks that we do more because it isn't only about getting the facts right. As she frames the core problem: “we don't have a misinformation problem, we have a relationship problem”. The misinformation can be deleted, but the underlying distrust that has caused it and allowed it to stick remains.'

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: