News Health

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Social media giants called on to help stop 'anti-vaxxers' spreading misinformation


Health Minister Simon Harris. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Health Minister Simon Harris. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Health Minister Simon Harris has written to social media giants inviting them to attend a summit to discuss how to clamp down on 'anti-vaxxers' who are spreading wrong information about vaccines.

He is also calling on Sports Ireland to promote the wearing of a HPV vaccine logo on jerseys in support of the jab, which can prevent cervical cancer and some other forms of the disease.

In a letter to the heads of Facebook Ireland, Google Ireland, Twitter and Pinterest he has warned that vaccine hesitancy has been identified by the World Health Organisation as one of the 10 leading threats to global health in 2019.

This week, he is to launch an alliance of healthcare professionals and policy makers to promote vaccination, particularly the childhood immunisation programme and the HPV vaccine for girls and boys.

"The aim of the alliance is to increase vaccination uptake rates by promoting vaccination and improving understanding of, and confidence in, vaccination among the public in Ireland," he wrote.

He told the social media executives: "As you are aware, one of the sources of misinformation about vaccination is social media."

He said he was particularly interested in hearing their proposals "on how we can work together to combat the spread of misinformation about vaccination".

Irish Independent

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