Medicine makes no conclusions based on facebook posts
Every fifth citizen of Montenegro believes that texts on the internet on the harmful effects of vaccines are true
PODGORICA, 22 APRIL – Every fifth citizen of Montenegro believes that texts on the internet on the harmful effects of vaccines are true, while every second citizen believes that these texts are part of a "conspiracy theory" and are not based on scientific facts. This is the result of a survey conducted by the market research agency Ipsos for the requirements of UNICEF in the period 9–14 April 2019 on a nationally representative sample of 1,030 respondents.
Vladimir Raicevic, Ipsos’s Director for Montenegro, said that the survey resulted in two key findings that clearly pointed to the importance of media literacy for public health.
Firstly, more than two-thirds of citizens believe that vaccines are one of the best medical inventions and that thanks to them many infectious diseases have been eradicated. Secondly, one-fifth of citizens believe that texts on the internet on the harmful effects of vaccines are true. Half of the citizens believe that these texts are part of a "conspiracy theory" and that they are not based on scientific facts. As many as a quarter of citizens do not know what to think about the truthfulness of these texts, which makes them potential victims of fake news about vaccines.
Spreading misinformation about vaccines via digital and social platforms is one of the factors behind rising numbers of unvaccinated children and outbreaks of disease worldwide. This is why UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador, Antonije Pusic, a.k.a. Rambo Amadeus, says that vaccination is a major achievement of civilization, and that the discovery of vaccines was a breakthrough in the development of medicine.
The human race has eradicated the most common diseases through vaccines. Medicine is a science, a serious science. Medicine does not make conclusions and decisions based on someone's post on Facebook or Instagram.
To recognize fake news about immunization and also about other topics it is necessary to be media literate – so say volunteer young reporters of the media literacy campaign "Let's Choose What We Watch", launched by UNICEF and the Agency for Electronic Media of Montenegro.
Various pieces of information on the internet and in other media may be true, but are not necessarily so. The fact that we all have the internet today does not make us doctors. Therefore, on this occasion, I call on all parents to consult with the experts, that is with doctors, about vaccines
Sofija’s colleague Balsa Bozovic, a young journalist points out that the internet is a huge library, and yet in order to use it properly, one needs to be media literate.
That means we need to see who is the source of certain information, how reliable this source is, what other sources say about this topic and how reliable they are, and finally, what the experts say. Therefore, I call on parents to analyse all the media messages in order to recognize fake news and not to decide on vaccines without consulting a doctor.
In 2019, the World Health Organization declared indecisiveness in terms of vaccination – hesitating or refusing vaccination despite the availability of vaccines – one of the top 10 public health threats.
That is why on 24 April UNICEF is launching a global online campaign #Vaccines Work with the aim of raising the awareness of parents and users of social networks about the safety of vaccines. Through numerous social media releases, the campaign will provide reliable, science-based information on vaccine safety and the importance of vaccination in saving millions of children's lives across the world.