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How a vaccine side-effect database has given ammo to anti-vaxxers

World

How a vaccine side-effect database has given ammo to anti-vaxxers

Omission bias when using VAERS has been used to mislead and misrepresent statistics by anti-vaccine protagonists

Kristen V Brown

Midway into the pandemic, University of Alabama epidemiologist Bertha Hidalgo realised her Covid communication strategy needed a makeover.

She was skipping basic biology lessons in favour of simply telling people the best ways to moderate their behaviour in response to the virus. Instead of helping people better understand the virus, her approach sometimes backfired, introducing more doubt instead of less.

“My method was: these are the facts and this is what you need to do,” she said. What she quickly learnt was that people didn’t have enough base knowledge to accept what she was presenting as fact...

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