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Public health education should start from an early age. How are people vaccinated against misinformation? – EURACTIV.pl

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Learning from the pandemic, medical organizations are constantly looking for the best way to get people to get vaccinated. Experts agree: The community should be thoroughly educated by trustworthy medical professionals.

The group of experts gathered during the MED vs Fake conference, which was organized in Warsaw on September 20. Its participants were specialists in a wide range of areas related to disease prevention: physicians, physicians, social psychologists, but also lawyers and economists.

How do you talk about vaccinations?

During the session, data was presented, including the number of parents who refused to vaccinate their children. In 2011, there were 4,689 such cases, in 2020 – more than 50,000. But doctors pointed out the decreasing tendency to refuse vaccinations in recent years, which is decreasing every year, although there are already many cases of health neglect in children in the form of not being vaccinated.

According to the data presented at the conference, most cases of vaccination refusals occurred in the following counties: Pomorskie, Wielkopolskie and Śląskie. And the least number of events took place in Podlasky, which was noted by the conference participants.

This phenomenon was related to the population’s acquisition of medical knowledge from the Internet. According to medics, the low number of refusals to vaccinate children in eastern Poland is associated with the presence of family doctors there, who have great authority and trust among their patients. On the other hand, as the largest number of parents refused to vaccinate their children, many of them used unreliable health advice online, raising unjustified concerns about the safety of vaccines.

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“Perhaps, direct contact with a medical specialist means that the number of preventive vaccinations is much higher,” – said the professor. Pinkas.

“Recently, we noticed an insignificant phenomenon in Poland and Europe – measles vaccination coverage decreased and an immediately increasing number of measles cases appeared,” – said the professor. Additional Dr. Hebb. n. medicine. Theresa Jakoska National Consultant Pediatrician and Head of the Pediatric Clinic at the Postgraduate Medical Center. And the doctor spoke of frequent infectious diseases due to the irresponsibility of some parents, which previously eliminated vaccinations.

“I hope we won’t see polio on our streets, but he doesn’t say it won’t. Isolated cases of this disease still happen in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, in Europe a few years ago we had one case of diphtheria.”

“Parents should be the authority for children. If this were not so, then the child would not be able to cope without a school, a doctor on the subject of health,” the specialist later said in an interview with EURACTIV.pl.

“Vaccinations must be explained to the child. You have to tell them – even if the sting hurts you, it will protect you from a possible illness that will not allow you to play freely or go outside. However, I have noticed that parents sometimes make mistakes by scaring their children with injections if they misbehave. This is not true because in Sometimes a drug or a vaccine really needs to be injected. Giving positive medical messages to children is also the responsibility of parents. We do not scare children with hospitals or doctors, ”- explained the doctor.

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Many health organizations, as well as trade unions and employers’ organizations are currently working on and promoting vaccinations. There is a growing awareness in the community that vaccination is an investment in employee health, not a cost.” Jaroslav PinkasWho spoke more about the strategy and data of compulsory vaccination campaigns.

The expert referred to politicians who promote anti-vaccine content.

You have to expect a lot from the politician. If we want to vote for him, we need to know what he represents. If he does not represent knowledge or deals with his own interests, then we should consider whether he can even be called a politician. A politician must be a person who is able to clearly interpret reports and facts, and he must also be up to date with knowledge ”- he explained.

Who is vulnerable to misinformation?

During the conference, there was also a conversation between many professionals in the field of sociology and social psychology. The panellists talked about the phenomenon of misinformation and its dissemination, as well as the psychological aspect of attitudes towards vaccines and epidemics.

The moderator of this conversation is Dr. Love. Tomas Gerzeb from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS) pointed out during the interview that the so-called “Janda Effect”, a humorous term for the scandal during which a group of celebrities, including Christina Ganda, was grafted out of sequence. After this situation, there was an increase in the desire for vaccination among the Poles.

The social impact was at work here. “They can and I can’t,” Dr. Gerzeb commented.

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“Research shows that sources of misinformation usually come from several sources, which allows us to assume that they are more or less structured sources,” he said in an interview with EURACTIV.pl. Wojciech Kuleszaa professor at SWPS University, is attending the conference.

The expert also revealed how we should check the authorities who speak, for example, about health issues.

Suppose I began promoting a new method of dental care among people – lubricating them with lard at night. My professor adds some glorification to this method, but let’s remember – I’m a social psychologist, not a dentist. So our first step in this situation should be to check whether I am talking about topics of which I have knowledge ”- says the scientist.

Then we can check if you have published articles related to dentistry, and if so – how many reputable scientific journals. If it was an easy-to-read, peer-reviewed, and indexable journal, then I could actually transform from a psychologist to an expert in the field of dentistry. In sum: we must check who is speaking on certain scientific topics, and also check whether he knows it, and check the place of publication ”- he adds.

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