No vaccine is a 100% effective against a said infectious disease. High vaccine uptake helps to achieve community-level immunity and significantly lowers the risk of disease. However, there is always a small percentage of the population who are vaccine hesitant and become a potential impediment to widespread community uptake.
Attitudes towards vaccinations are a function of the information available with on the vaccine’s attributes: efficacy, the incidence of side effects, manufacturers’ reputation, and government approval, policy interventions and finally, the sheer willingness to be vaccinated. With information playing a vital role in this decision process, it is imperative to keep it accurate and factual.
The inherent desire of humankind to learn, share and accumulate knowledge drives innovation in science and technologies. However, research methodology and interpretation of scientific findings might be challenging for a layman with non-scientific background to understand, especially when delivered through the prism of emotions. When we speak about misinformation, we immediately relate it to the effect of popular and social media and most often overlook scientific enterprise that faces the equivalent issue –hype and hyperbole, that became evident during COVID-19. Publication bias and cherry-picking of results, citation misdirection, predatory publishing, filter bubbles and echo chambers imposed by social media have led to many a misinformed person. This misinformation changes people’s perception towards vaccines and disease control.
This panel will discuss how peoples attitudes toward vaccines are affected by misinformation. Dr David Lye will give us the medical perspective to the issue while Dr Edson Tandoc will bring forth the social impact this has on the attitudes toward vaccines.