Countering Misinformation in Science, a #Solo13links Storify

PLOS held a science outreach workshop at Spot On London ’13 on science communication using falling vaccination rates as a focus. Panelists included PLOS ONE Editorial Director Damian Pattinson, PLOS authors Marc Baguelin, Tammy Boyce and Stephan Lewandowsky, and PLOS Public Health Perspectives blogger, Beth Skwarecki.

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2 Responses to Countering Misinformation in Science, a #Solo13links Storify

  1. Something that’s been on my mind in the days since the panel: In Tammy Boyce’s research, whenever a local religious leader had spoken out, either for or against vaccines, it affected that vaccine’s uptake in the community. This relates directly, I think, to Emily Willingham’s point about influential nodes in a network, (and somebody’s comment, I think Steve Lewandowsky’s, about Arnold Schwarzenegger and climate change). The people with the most impact are those who lots of people trust. Those could be nurses or priests or Arnold Schwarzenegger. They could be Oprah (who endorsed Jenny McCarthy at the start) or your neighborhood pediatrician.

    Dan Kahan compares the HPV and Hepatitis B vaccines. Both target sexually transmitted viruses that cause cancer (cervical cancer from HPV, liver cancer from Hep B). But their PR stories are different. HPV’s manufacturer fast-tracked the vaccine by focusing on teen girls, then pushed politicians to make it mandatory, paying off legislators and creating a political fireball.

    By contrast, Hepatitis B was introduced quietly, boringly, and patients heard about it from their doctor as a routine sort of thing: we have this new vaccine, I recommend it, what do you think? And 92% said yes. (that’s from vaccine coverage data as of 2012). HPV coverage, by contrast, is around 33% for teen girls.

    So, we should probably be thinking more about those influential nodes and how to reach them.

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