Online health information: The game has changed

SUMMARY: Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high. Even if humoral immunity appears to wane, reductions in neutralizing antibody titre do not necessarily predict reductions in vaccine efficacy over time, and reductions in vaccine efficacy against mild disease do not necessarily predict reductions in the (typically higher) efficacy against severe disease. Source: The Lancet

The misinformation around COVID continues to permeate the media. First, the number of deaths from “covid complications” fails to address the facts that some people may have died because of comorbid conditions. Second, some say we need a “third” shot, but others say that’s not the case. The CEO of Pfizer said “trust us” when they have a major financial stake in increased dosing.

Like it or not, people get their health information online, and misinformation is spread faster and shared more accurate information. It had been over six months since I had my Moderna vaccinations, and my doctor recommended a booster shot, saying, “it can’t hurt.”

While telehealth tends to increase with COVID spread, patients rarely have the opportunity to ask general health questions from their healthcare provider. My physician’s group sends out a newsletter and updates on important issues to us all, but many do not communicate with patients who tend to have many questions.

Unfortunately, COVID vaccinations are less about science and more about your political beliefs. Science has become a pawn in the debate around vaccinations. To date, I have not received any communication on vaccinations from my health insurer or pharmacy. This is a huge wasted opportunity.

People want accurate, easy-to-understand health information, and right now, that requires a lot of time online sorting through truths and misinformation. Are we really supposed to trust a pharma CEO instead of science?

COVID has clearly identified a major issue with online health information, especially in social media. We need to work harder to EARN the trust of the public we serve. People need help, and we need to be the go-to source for health information online. The game has changed.