PAHO: Do not fall prey to COVID-19 misinformation

Source : Jamaica Obderver
THE Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is encouraging residents of member countries to verify the information they receive about the novel coronavirus pandemic and vaccines and not fall prey to misinformation.

Speaking during PAHO’s recent COVID-19 digital briefing, Assistant Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa da Silva Jr said there are people who have been trying to doubt the pandemic’s existence and the efficacy and safety of the vaccines.

“These are falsehoods… idle chatter [that] can lead to people dying. The best response to this is to always look for accurate information from reliable sources,” he said.

Among these, Dr. Barbosa pointed out, are health professionals and PAHO’s webpage, “[where persons, including] journalists can find information about the pandemic [relating to] cases [and] technical guidelines such as how or what to do in each situation”.

Dr. Barbosa said many of the inaccuracies are surfacing through social media, noting that this has resulted in an “infodemic”, which, he argued, “can be as serious a problem as the disease, if false information is shared”.

He pointed out that 18 months after the pandemic’s onset in the Americas, the region has experienced millions of infections and deaths and a significant impact on countries’ health systems and economies.

“So read information only from sources that you can verify the accuracy of the data presented. Always look for accurate information from websites or newspapers that you can prove the validity of. We need to take this [pandemic] very seriously,” Dr. Barbosa emphasised.

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