(Bloomberg) – When the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered last week, many front-line healthcare workers across the United States posted photos on social media celebrating the event. In what was supposed to be a moment of triumph, some ended up being the target of skeptical or even derogatory comments from vaccine naysayers.
A nurse by the name of @saruhhdanae shared the News on Twitter with a photo receiving the vaccine from Pfizer, in a post with eight exclamation points. In a matter of minutes, amid comments of congratulations and thanks, responses appeared from people who said they would be afraid to get vaccinated, anticipating terrible side effects or even worse. “I made my own decision and all kinds of people foresee my death,” he said in a reply, and noted that he was still happy to have been vaccinated.
Health workers waiting to get vaccinated against covid-19 in San José, California.
Fotógrafo: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg
After coronavirus vaccines were created and distributed in record time, the first people to receive them have become de facto online ambassadors to assure the population that they are safe. They are against the anti-vaccine movement, which for years has spread rumors about the dangers of common and safe vaccines on Facebook groups and Instagram “influencers” accounts. As US states figure out how to distribute vaccines as doses arrive, there are those who hesitate to get vaccinated, often because they browse online communities where poignant anecdotes spread faster than accepted science.
Comment battles on social media are draining already stressed nurses, said Dan Weberg, head of clinical innovation at Trusted Health, which connects travel nurses with hospitals. “After suffering for 10 months in the pandemic, they are now suffering on social media for making a decision that could save hundreds of thousands of lives.”
Social media platforms such as Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., and YouTube are beginning to recognize the role they have played in the continuing popularity of vaccine skepticism. Twitter said that starting this week it will remove any content spreading vaccine-related conspiracies or false and widely discredited claims about the effects of the vaccine. By early next year, the company could label incomplete or out of context vaccine information with a link to information from health authorities.
Facebook, which has been trying to keep anti-vaccine groups out of its recommendations for users, said it will start looking for ways to encourage healthcare workers who share positive news after getting vaccinated. “As that trend continues, we are looking for ways to promote and support it,” the company said.
Nurses Celebrating Covid-19 Vaccines Battle Social Media Scorn
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