Hospitals try to stamp down COVID-19 misinformation as it grows globally: 6 things to know

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A top official at the World Health Organization said misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines has gotten worse in recent weeks. Meanwhile, hospitals navigate vaccine hesitancy and attempt to halt the spread of incorrect medical information, according to an Aug. 24 CNBC report.

Six things to know:

  1. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, declared COVID-19 misinformation a "serious public health threat" in July. Many public health leaders blame conspiracy theorists for enforcing so much distrust in the vaccines.

  2. Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, infectious disease epidemiologist and technical lead on COVID-19 at the WHO, said Aug. 23 that misinformation has gotten worse in the last four weeks. "The amount of misinformation that is out there seems to be getting worse, and I think that's really confusing for the general public," she said

  3. A small number of medical professionals have enforced some vaccine misinformation on social media outlets, such as TikTok and Doximity.

  4. Doximity is a social media platform used by 80 percent of U.S. physicians and has 1.8 million users. CNBC reported that the platform is riddled with misinformation, though Doximity's CEO, Jeff Tangney, told CNBC that less than 0.1 percent of its members have posted medical misinformation. The CEO did say there was an uptick in comments that had to be removed because they violated community guidelines.

  5. The Federation of State Medical Boards warned July 29 that physicians and other healthcare professionals could be at risk of losing their medical licenses if they spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on social media, online and in the media.

  6. Several hospital employees have gone viral over TikToks they have posted spreading inaccurate medical data. A surgical technologist at Marietta, Ga.-based Wellstar Healthcare System is "no longer employed" with the health system after comparing vaccine mandates to the Holocaust, WSB-TV reported Aug. 22.
 

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