New DCU website to tackle vaccine misinformation among parents

About Vaccines aims to provide parents with scientifically based evidence about the effectiveness of vaccinations in children.

A team from Dublin City University (DCU) has launched a new website that aims to combat vaccine misinformation by highlighting the science behind vaccines and providing parents with evidence-based information.

About vaccines is the result of a collaboration between DCU academics and members of the public, including parents, primary caregivers, field workers, and educators.

As part of the Voices for Vaccine project funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), it stems from the work of project leader Dr Eileen Culloty. She is an assistant professor at the DCU School of Communications and deputy director of the Institute for Future Media Democracy and Society.

‘Accessibility of communication channels and social media platforms provides parents with a torrent of conflicting information about childhood vaccines’

The website aims to provide simple, clear and accurate health campaign materials to help parents decide whether to vaccinate their children. It tries to obtain accurate vaccine information and differentiate it from misinformation about vaccines that people can find online.

“For vaccine information campaigns to be successful, people need to collect accurate vaccine information, which is the goal of the About Vaccines website,” said Culloty, who is also a subsidiary of the SFI Adapt research center.

False information has always existed, but online platforms provide fertile ground for vaccine myths and falsehoods. The accessibility of communication channels and social media platforms provides parents with a deluge of conflicting information about childhood vaccines.”

Culloty added that access to accurate and clear health information is “essential to the success of vaccine uptake” and to protect communities from vaccine-preventable diseases.

To inform the Vaccine resources sources, project partners, including the National College of Ireland’s Early Learning Initiative, spoke to parents in Dublin’s northern inner city and northern Dublin province. These are areas where vaccine uptake has declined.

“People may hesitate or refuse vaccines for a variety of reasons,” said Barbara Gormley, a science and health communication researcher at DCU.

“These include access to the right information, peer influence, reasoning driven more by personal or moral values ​​than scientific facts, and distrust of those responsible for delivering vaccine programs.

“Projects with public participants such as Voices for Vaccines are essential to the success of health information campaigns, as all voices must be included and represented to ensure evidence-based information is accessible and tailored to address all parental questions and concerns. when making vaccine decisions and choices.”

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