Van Ooijen wants more doctors as influencers against vaccination doubts

Van Ooijen wants more doctors as influencers against vaccination doubts
Van Ooijen wants more doctors as influencers against vaccination doubts
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ANP Productions | Source: ANP

Today at 3:36 PM

The Hague

State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen (Public Health) wants to use doctors as influencers to combat misinformation about vaccinations. The outgoing minister is very positive about initiatives such as the TikTok channel Doctors Today and wants to “scale them up”, he writes in a letter to the House of Representatives. The State Secretary is also considering making agreements with tech companies to combat disinformation on social media.

Doctors must not only post messages about vaccinations, but also talk directly to people. The State Secretary noticed during conversations that many healthcare workers want to share their knowledge with a larger audience.

According to Van Ooijen, it could help if social media alerted their visitors if messages contained disinformation. He finds out whether voluntary agreements are “meaningful”. In his opinion, recommending medically verified information is also an option.

To the foreground

Together with the Advertising Code Committee, the Health Care and Youth Inspectorate and the KNMG medical federation, the minister also wants to look for other ways to put incorrect information in the background and reliable information in the foreground.

People can already contact the Erasmus MC Doubt Telephone with questions about contraception, for example. Parents will soon also be able to call the number if they have questions about vaccinations.

Causes

Signals that the vaccination rate among children is declining worry Van Ooijen. For example, he points to studies that show that in certain neighborhoods in Amsterdam and The Hague, fewer and fewer parents are having their children vaccinated.

According to the State Secretary, one of the causes is that people often get their information from social media and that a lot of incorrect information circulates here. He also sees a “prevention paradox”: people are less aware of the need for vaccines because they work so well that the diseases they protect against hardly occur. In addition, declining confidence in the government – especially since the corona pandemic – has not done the vaccination rate any good.

Doubt

“I understand very well that more parents have doubts after all the polarization around vaccinations that we have experienced during corona times,” says Van Ooijen. “And when you have doubts and look for answers, you come across an incredible amount of misinformation, disinformation and utter nonsense. We must provide more counterbalance to this.”

The House of Representatives will debate with Van Ooijen on Thursday about the declining vaccination rate.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Van Ooijen doctors influencers vaccination doubts

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