How to debunk clinical myths

30 July 2021
Summer 2021

From vaccine hesitancy to blue-light filters, Steve Smethurst looks at the erroneous but unbudgeable beliefs that should be buried for good.

We’re living in an era where it’s genuinely hard to know what to believe, particularly when it comes to health. At the time of writing, three of the BBC’s top stories on its fake-news hub related to coronavirus: Brazil’s bubble of bad vaccine info; The rise of India’s ‘Covid quack’; and The anti-vax movement targeting German children (BBC, 2021). 

One impact of the phenomenon has been to reduce trust in science. An Ipsos MORI report last year on the subject observed that “the importance of social media, word of mouth and WhatsApp communications among younger audiences, in particular, should not be underestimated”. It also reported that “the less affluent and non-graduates tend to be less trusting than the middle classes and graduates” (Skinner et al, 2020).

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