Can Vaccine Confidence Survive in a Warp-Speed Infodemic?

July 10, 2020
DESCRIPTION: On this Sustain What Friday news and communication review, host Andy Revkin and two top figures assessing vaccine narratives and attitudes explore steps that would need to be taken now to lessen odds of a major misfire when a COVID-19 vaccine emerges from the global race.

As if the communication challenges around this COVID-19 pandemic aren't already tough enough, many experts in public health, social science and social media fear a fresh surge of misinformation and confusion is almost inevitable.

The pace of vaccine development and testing is unprecedented. The corporate vaccine race is implicitly veiled in secrecy. Some early media and communication missteps around pre-review trial news have already muddied the media landscape. Add in active disinformation campaigns and groups with extreme anti-vaccine views and sophisticated campaigns.

Host Andy Revkin discusses the issues and options with Heidi J. Larson, who heads the Vaccine Confidence Project, an initiative using surveys and analysis to gauge "vaccine confidence" levels in communities around the world.

You'll also meet Noel Brewer, Professor of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, and Renee Diresta, research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, where she investigates the spread of "malign narratives" across social networks, and assists policymakers in understanding and responding to the problem. Diresta is a frequent contributor to Wired Magazine, the Atlantic and other publications.

In the second half of the show, Larson will discuss her new book, "Stuck: How Vaccine Rumors Start -- and Why They Don't Go Away."

Please click back to our relevant Wednesday session, Inside the World Health Organization Push to Tame the #COVID19 Infodemic:

Also: Can Technology Help Tame the Pandemic Infodemic?