Misinformation Spread By Anti-Science Groups Endangers COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts
In some parts of the country. The biggest challenge surrounding the Corona virus vaccine won't be distributing it. It'll be convincing people to take it. Anti science groups and politicians are spreading misinformation about the safety of the new vaccines. NPR's Kirk Siegler reports from Idaho estate with one of the nation's highest immunization opt out rates since the start of the pandemic far right extremist groups of pro tested rules enclosures imposed for public health safety reasons. Sometimes armed, they have openly flouted mask ordinances in the few cities here that have them protesters and Boise, chanting. Let us in outside of Public Health board meeting this month is Idaho dealt with one Of the worst covert outbreaks in the country. In newspaper editorials and on local TV news doctors here are warning this backlash toward medical professionals is worsening in conspiracy theories or spreading. This is the backdrop as the first vaccines arrive in Idaho. Sarah leads is in charge of vaccine distribution in the state. The challenge with dealing with misinformation is that it's very reactive. It's hard to predict what's going to come out next. So the State Health Department is holding weekly meetings on Facebook about the efficacy of vaccines, among other things. And so far, no disruptions Lead says the government carefully crafts messaging, stressing their safety and effectiveness, but it's almost impossible to keep up with social media where anything goes, It's so easy. For anti vaccine groups and individuals to post misinformation and throw a few scientific sounding terms into An article that folks can believe. But this was a common thread in Idaho long before the pandemics, so public health officials here have a lot of practice methods of combating misinformation. Lead says Even the most responsive and innovative education isn't going to change some people's minds. It's those hesitant people who maybe are listening to a family member and Not sure what the data actually is, but are listening to a family member who sounds like a good authority. I think those are the people that we can really impact. But public health officials in conservative states like this say their work is being made even harder by the conflicting signals being sent by President Trump and his allies. Last week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson Sow doubt about the vaccines on his show the night before Vice President Mike Pence was to get his on live TV. Here in the rural Northwest, prominent far right figures on talk radio and Web sites that had already pushed mask protests are pivoting to vaccines. Now the media and politicians would like you to believe that Things will go back to normal if you just simply comply. This is commentator Spirits chorus and a post on readout news. The readout is a loose movement that encourages people to relocate the Idaho in part due to its libertarian vaccination laws. I'd like to clarify right now that I'm not a doctor. I'm not a scientist. Most scientists and doctors are hoping these contrarian voices are a small minority, though they may have an outsized megaphone. And I think it probably is. I'd like to believe that Chris Tramp is a family practice doctor in rural Sabbeth, a Kansas his strategy is to meet people where they are, If they're worried, are skeptical about the vaccine. He says. He tries to get to the bottom of why that is and then give them the best information he can, including that he was one of the first and his small town to get vaccinated against Cove. It 19 1 thing that I'm really going to be preaching to people is kind of a message of you're crazy if you don't take it and what I mean by that is that the vaccine so far is looking so very efficacious. But for now, Dr Tramps says battling misinformation is just one more headache, medical professionals or confronting in this very long, exhausting year.