Call in the 'e-cavalry': Physicians fight back against online anti-vaccine attacks

Physicians, nurses and other vaccine advocates are banding together to defend against anti-vaccine attacks online, reports The New York Times.

The group of activists, called Shots Heard Round the World, aims to protect clinicians and healthcare organizations that face online harassment when promoting vaccines on their websites or social media pages.

The "e-cavalry," as NYT calls the group, contains about 600 volunteers worldwide, including physicians, lawyers and state legislative employees. The volunteers communicate about anti-vaccine attacks via email and a closed Facebook group.

"We want them to ride to the site and do whatever they feel comfortable doing," Todd Wolynn, MD, CEO of Pittsburgh-based Kids Plus Pediatrics, who helped found the group, told NYT. "For some, it's to respond to every bogus claim with a link to an evidence-based study. For others, it's to push back at the anti-vaxxers."

The group also created an 80-page resource called the "Anti-Anti-Vaxx Toolkit," and on March 5 held a large virtual rally pushing pro-vaccine messages with hashtags like #DoctorsSpeakUp, which was retweeted more than 100,000 times.

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