Ontario doctors promote vaccine confidence to counter misinformation
SAULT STE. MARIE -- Doctors from across Ontario are uniting to fight the spread of misinformation when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Ontario Medical Association hosted a panel Wednesday to help people distinguish between truth and fiction when it comes to vaccines.
"Sometimes, even for trained folks, it is hard to discern what is reliable and what is not," said Dr. Noah Ivers. "Things that are completely nonsense are couched inside scientific words to make it sound reasonable or truthful."
Ivers is the lead on a national campaign aimed at stopping the spread of misinformation, called 19ToZero. He said the goal is to ensure Canadians can find credible information, rather than through unreliable social media channels.
"I don't know if that harm is purposeful or if they've just been led astray themselves," Ivers said. "But there's a few things I'd encourage people to do, like once they find reliable sources like Health Canada, to spread that and talk about it with friends and family."
Dr. Sarita Verma, Northern Ontario School of Medicine's CEO and president, also joined the call.
"In Northern Ontario … we're working with remote, fly-in, Indigenous communities," Verma said. "Like many communities who have had historical legacy issues, these communities have suffered greatly."
Verma said the memory of forced experimentation by way of the Indian Act is still alive within some elders in these communities, creating further distrust of vaccines.
"We're making sure Indigenous communities in northern Ontario are partnered in this process," she said. "The goal is to make it patient-centred and community-centred."
The Ontario Medical Association said misinformation is currently being spread amongst all age groups within the province, most notably among people 34 and under.