Physicians 'terrorized into silence' by anti-vaccine groups online

Many physicians face online harassment when posting about vaccines on their practices' social media pages, which can often scare them into silence, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Since late 2017, anti-vaccine groups have coordinated more than 50 online campaigns against providers who advocate for vaccines, according to Chad Hermann, communications director for Pittsburgh-based Kids Plus Pediatrics. Mr. Hermann has tracked the online harassment campaigns by anti-vaccine groups since his practice was targeted in 2017.

In the online campaigns, vaccine supporters flood physicians' social media pages with negative comments and reviews. Some campaigns have even escalated to threats of harm, prompting 911 calls, according to Mr. Hermann.

"When pediatric practices are being … terrorized into silence, it's going to create a void in the discourse," he told the Los Angeles Times. "And we all know who's going to fill that: the anti-vax folks."

Mr. Hermann and Todd Wolynn, MD, CEO of Kids Plus Pediatrics, are encouraging physicians to stand up to online attacks. They are working on a pro bono project called "Shots Heard Round the World," that offers tips and resources to help physicians fight the attacks and promote pro-vaccine messages.

To view the full report, click here.

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