MONTREAL – An article written by Carey Price’s wife outlining the so-called “alternative” immunization schedule for her children demonstrates the ease with which misinformation about vaccines can be disseminated on social networks, experts say.
The e message blogger Angela Price posted this week on Instagram raised eyebrows minds. Ms. Price described the family’s vaccine strategy and recommended a book by an American doctor opposed to mandatory vaccination.
In a new message on Thursday, Ms. Price defended herself by saying that she did not oppose vaccines and that her children had received all the necessary vaccines. She added, however, that vaccinations had been spread over a longer period than recommended. She also chose to wait for her two daughters to be older to receive some vaccines.
Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta, says messages like Ms. Price’s can be a problem because they can convince some parents to remain hesitant before vaccinating their children.
“This type of blog really shows how these platforms can propagate misinformation,” he said in a phone interview. She probably has parents who follow her and who may share her ideas. Together, they create a confirmation bubble that allows misinformation to gain ground. ”
According to him, 2 to 5 percent of the population consists of opponents hardened to vaccination. Between 20 and 30 percent are parents who are hesitant or who doubt the effectiveness of vaccines. He adds that the latter group is vulnerable to speeches by opponents of vaccination.
“The very idea that the vaccine calendar is a problem can cause parents to be more reluctant to have their children inoculated,” he says.
Ms. Price declined an interview request from The Canadian Press on Thursday.
In her new message on Thursday, she said her article on Instagram had been removed. She lamented that he was taken out of context following a report from the Montreal Gazette .
She did not apologize for recommending a book by California pediatrician Bob Sears that virulently criticizes mandatory vaccination. She added that her decisions were based on the advice of three doctors from different parts of the country who care for her two daughters.
According to Fuyuki Kurasawa, director of the Global Laboratory on Digital Citizenship at York University in Toronto, if we want to contain misinformation, this will require a concerted effort by governments, health professionals and social media.
After recalling that research had conclusively proven the safety and efficacy of vaccines, he regretted that this information was generally not available to parents. “Believing that people will read medical journal articles like the New England Journal of Medicine or the Lancet is unrealistic.”
Kurasawa wants public information campaigns to be better adapted to the social media era. In addition, platforms such as Facebook must do a better job by eliminating propaganda from opponents of vaccination.
Kurasawa’s comments echo those of Health Canada who announced this week wanting to work with health professionals to address misinformation about vaccines on social media and the Internet.
According to the medical profession, the vaccination schedule is based on scientific standards and should be followed to ensure better protection for children at a time when they are most at risk.
“There are some minor variations from province to province, but I would say that the essential vaccines we recommend to all children should be administered on a fairly consistent schedule,” said Dr. Mike Dickinson, former President of the Society. Canadian Pediatric Society. Whenever someone walks away from it, it potentially opens a window in which a child could run the risk of contracting one of these infectious diseases because it is not fully protected. “
Emma Williams has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Bobr Telegram , Emma Williams worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella.