STRONGER Brings Together Science, Experts and the American Public, Targeting Misinformation Spread Against Science, Medicine, and Vaccines
NEW YORK, July 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — PGP, (The Public Good Projects), a public health nonprofit responsible for some of the nation’s most successful health campaigns, announces today the launch of STRONGER, a first-of-its-kind national advocacy campaign against misinformation and for vaccines. While previous campaigns have focused on educating the public, STRONGER focuses on actively mobilizing the vast majority of Americans who know vaccines are safe and effective.
Health misinformation has more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, driven in part by growing opposition to vaccines and scientific expertise. A coordinated anti-vaccination movement has decreased American’s belief that parents should vaccinate their children, from 94 percent of Americans in 2001 to 84 percent in 2020.1 Now, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, sources of misinformation are hindering the U.S. response to the novel coronavirus by further eroding trust in scientific authorities and making it harder to find accurate information.2
“Everybody understands that misinformation is a bad thing, and I think everyone understands that we can no longer argue what happens online stays online. Misinformation has real-world outcomes, like last year’s measles outbreaks. Or, the now daily attacks on public health officials trying to do their jobs. People are frustrated about this and they should be. They want a way to help turn things around. Stronger’s mission is to help people recognize and react to misinformation. There are things each person can do to make the situation better; if a whole lot of people do those things, change comes faster and is more widespread,” says Dr. Joe Smyser, PhD, MSPH, Chief Executive Officer of PGP.
STRONGER is the first vaccine advocacy campaign to focus on the root cause of vaccine hesitancy – misinformation. Stronger is supported by PGP, BIO, and individual donors. The campaign coordinates with well-respected vaccine organizations and state-based vaccine coalitions.
STRONGER’s strategy is three-fold:
- Mobilize the majority. The campaign will show people how to block, hide, and report misinformation. People can also report to the campaign, and it will do it for them.
- Track misinformation. The campaign will send alerts when there is an outbreak of misinformation. This includes directing people to scientists, health care workers, and officials under attack for promoting vaccines and science-based policies.
- Use social network analysis. The campaign tracks misinformation related to vaccines across multiple public media sources, identifying trends, networks, and falsehoods on the verge of going viral.
About The Public Good Projects
PGP (The Public Good Projects) is a public health nonprofit. PGP’s mission is to apply best evidence and practices from the public and private sectors to create bold projects for health. PGP’s programs and initiatives are evidence-based, employ a collective impact model, and are scientifically evaluated. To learn more, visit: https://publicgoodprojects.org/
1) GALLUP (2020, January). Fewer in U.S. Continue to See Vaccines as Important. https://news.gallup.com/poll/276929/fewer-continue-vaccines-important.aspx
2) Axios (2020, July). Fighting the coronavirus infodemic. https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-misinformation-conspiracy-theories-ad2785eb-b5a2-4ea5-8158-729cb8879130.html
SOURCE The Public Good Projects