The AMA has urged the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube to address misinformation on vaccination on their social media sites by ensuring accurate, timely and scientifically valid information, according to a statement from the association.
Currently, vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly measles, are re-emerging across the United States due to anti-vaccine fervor. Social media has notably played a role in the anti-vaccine movement and has targeted parents seeking information on vaccines, according to the AMA.
The AMA expressed concern that this misinformation will undermine sound science, decrease vaccinations further and trigger the spread of diseases that are easily preventable.
“The overwhelming scientific evidence shows that vaccines are among the most effective and safest interventions to both prevent individual illness and protect public health,” James L. Madara, MD, CEO and executive vice president of AMA, said in the statement. “When immunization rates are high, people who cannot be protected directly by the vaccines are protected because they are not exposed to the disease. This includes children too young to receive vaccinations and people with medical contraindications.”
The AMA has urged the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube to address misinformation on vaccination on their social media sites by ensuring accurate, timely and scientifically valid information.
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Some social media outlets, such as YouTube, are now taking action by blocking anti-vaccine ads, and the AMA applauds those companies and encourages them to continue their efforts.
“The reductions we have seen in vaccination coverage threaten to erase many years of progress as nearly eliminated and preventable diseases return, resulting in illness, disability and death,” Madara said. “In order to protect our communities’ health, it is important that people be aware not just that these diseases still exist and can still debilitate and kill, but that vaccines are a safe, proven way to protect against them.”
Other health-related associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, have also urged leading tech companies to combat vaccine misinformation.
Disclosure: Healio Primary Care Today was unable to confirm Madara’s relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.