ISSN: 2456-8090 (online)
ANAMIKA*1, SAHIBLEEN KAUR2
Cite this article as: Anamika, Kaur S. Effect of Infodemic on Covid -19 Vaccination. Int Healthc Res J. 2023;6(11):SC1-SC4. https://doi.org/10.26440/IHRJ/0611.02593
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Himachal Dental College, Sundernagar, Himachal Pradesh, India
Contact Corresponding Author at: anamikachoudhary677[at]gmail[dot]com
The pandemic Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has developed as a major and global public health crisis. Despite the increase in cases and fatalities, the outbreak has also had an impact on communities, jobs, and safety regulations. As billions are quarantined at home to contain the infection, the uncertainty caused huge anguish. Outlining, there has been a concealed epidemic of "information," reflecting COVID-19 as a "digital infodemic" from previous epidemics. With growing digitalization, media penetration has expanded, with a larger number of individuals attributing to "information pollution."
KEYWORDS: Infodemic, Pandemic, Information, Health
The WHO, immediately after designating the epidemic as a public health emergency of global concern noted that the current coronavirus pandemic is being followed by an "infodemic" of false information. The WHO has further referred to it as a "second disease" that is present alongside the epidemic. The glut of information, both right and incorrect, caused people to be unsure whether to accept or decline it and if they need it. Both are 2 distinct kinds of misinformation: "misinformation," which is intended to extend lies accompanied by or without malicious purpose, and "disinformation," which is intended for circulation with negative intents.1
This commentary glances at the unique evolution of COVID-19 as an “infodemic” in the hands of social media and the impact it had on its spread and public. With a massive data analysis on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, we addressed the spread of fake news about COVID-19.
This infodemic also included sensationalized and inaccurate drug information that probably first impacted opinion leaders and people who were particularly active on social media, then other people, shaping individual patient actions across the world. In particular, information about several medications approved for other reasons (chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, favipiravir, and umifenovir) had been propagated, likely resulting in inappropriate and hence lethal use.
Contrasting to the COVID-19 outbreak, social media made it look that the pandemic is spreading extremely quickly. This commentary examines COVID-19's unexpected emergence as an "infodemic" in the hands of social media, as well as the impact it had on its propagation and public reaction.2
First phase: The first COVID-19 vaccine in India was launched almost a year after reporting its first case. India launched its vaccination program on January 16th, 2021, with 3,006 vaccination centers.3 Either Covishield or Covaxin was available at each immunization centers, but not both. On the first day when vaccinations were offered, 165,714 people received them.4 There were troubles with low turnout in those early days due to a mixture of misinformation, technical issues with the software being used, and vaccination safety issues. Frontline personnel, such as police, paramilitary forces, sanitation workers, and volunteers for disaster management were included in the first phase of the implementation5 Only 14 million healthcare and frontline employees received vaccinations as on the first of March, falling short of the initial target of 30 million.
Second phase: All inhabitants above the age of 60, people between the ages of 45 and 60 who had one or more qualifying comorbidities, and any healthcare or frontline workers who had not received a dose during phase 1 were included in the second phase of the vaccine implementation. On March 1st, online registration opened up through the Co-WIN ("Winning over COVID-19") website and the Aarogya Setu app.6
With effect from April 1st, all residents over 45 years also become able to register. As many eligible residents as possible will got immunized during the four-day Teeka Utsav ("Vaccine Festival") that Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on April 8th, 2021 to speed up the program. By the time the utsav ended, many people registered for vaccinations.7
Third phase: The DCGI authorized the Sputnik V vaccination from Russia for use in India on April 12th, 2021. Many pharmaceutical companies had been given the go-ahead to start child COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials by September 2021.
With the government claiming to be examining their applicability and to be focused on their objective to provide a primary series of vaccine doses to all adults, discussions were also starting to emerge about whether India would use vaccine booster doses. India exceeded one billion delivered doses on October 21st, 2021.
The Indian Prime Minister. Sh. Narendra Modi said on December 26th, 2021, that beginning on January 3rd, 2022, children ages 15 to 18 would also be eligible for vaccinations (with online registration beginning on January 1st).8
COVID-19 SOCIAL MEDIA INFODEMIC
In India total of 2,20,01,76,802 people were vaccinated out of 1.417 billion people. A total of 64.42% of people are fully vaccinated and 35.58% were still not vaccinated as they said that they would ‘not’ accept a COVID-19 vaccine. The remaining respondents were ‘unsure’ about whether they would accept a COVID-19 vaccine.
Reaching such minimum immunization levels shouldn't be taken for granted in light of the widespread vaccine reluctance that has been well-documented and is frequently fuelled by false information about the value, safety, or efficacy of vaccinations that is spread online and offline. False information regarding the pandemic has been widely disseminated on social media platforms, such that the virus is linked to 5G mobile networks, that vaccine trial volunteers have perished after receiving a candidate COVID-19 vaccine, and that the pandemic is a hoax or a bioweapon. Such information runs the risk of limiting the public's acceptance of COVID-19 vaccinations by stoking already-existing anxieties and sowing seeds of scepticism about new vaccines.10 Although widespread vaccination rejection endangers herd immunity objectives.
The biggest boost in the proportion of postings occurred on social media occurred on January 21st for Gab, January 24th for Reddit, January 30th for Twitter, January 31st for YouTube, and February 5th for Instagram.10 However, they also encourage the spread of false therapeutic approaches, fear, panic, racism, xenophobia, and mistrust, among other things. Studies have revealed that there has been a significant impact on mental health and wellness. First Draft News' corpus of fact-checked content in the English language, focusing on the content classified as false and misleading, revealed that 88% of the erroneous information appeared on social media platforms, along with 9% on TV, 8% in news publications, and 7% on other websites. Nobody could fully comprehend what was going on in the area of health education during the beginning of the pandemic since the entire world was engulfed in false information, and social and internet media surged like never before on any type of public health concern.
Internet media (80.52%), traditional media (52.62), coworkers (23.57), family (24.36), friends (21.08), academic courses (21.18), and medical staffs (21.18%) were the sources of information (19.03) According to a study that studied 69 YouTube videos, 27.5% of them contained false information and had 62,042,609 views, which indicates that they spread fears and anxiety among roughly this many individuals.11
There are more reports of anxiety and despair the longer someone uses social media.
COVID-19 VACCINE RUMOURS
5 .I've already had COVID-19 so I don't need to get the vaccine.
The success of the COVID-19 immunization campaign is challenged by the infodemic and falsehoods surrounding the disease. It's critical to develop proactive countermeasures, so identify them. We offer the following suggestions, which can be altered depending on the local situation and the resources available in various nations.
A global infodemic (or misinfodemic) has had an unprecedented impact on the public's response, according to the WHO, which has classified COVID-19 as one of the biggest hazards to public health. (15) This is likely a cost of globalization that we must bear. Information pollution occurs when there is too much information available and it is difficult to sort out "what is authentic" in a crisis without trustworthy sources. It can be risky for various online media outlets to post something without first verifying it because it can be difficult to report on facts when they are constantly changing.
Digital health literacy can be encouraged and advocated for on social media. Certain vulnerable demographics, such as children, adolescents, and older persons, need to be carefully protected against the consequences of misinformation. History has shown us that social media penetration is strong during biological crises and that this can significantly affect the public's response. Other pressures on public health include subpar treatments, expensive health care, and disregard for safety precautions, in addition to misinformation fueling widespread frenzy and terror. Various community programs have simultaneously attempted to use social media during pandemics to spread helpful information for community awareness, therapeutic collaboration, and research, which ultimately aid in containing epidemics. Social media generally has two sides to it.
The lessons learned from this COVID-19 epidemic can assist strengthen the mutually beneficial relationship between social media and public health. Social media's integrative function in public health promotion can promote greater psychosocial and global well-being.16
© Anamika et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY-NC 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the use is not commercial and the original author(s) and source are cited.
Submitted on: 09-Jan-2023; Accepted on: 23-Feb-2023