Community Radio Challenges Vaccine Myths

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Reopening or not, coronavirus vaccine misinformation is not over. In July, NFCB will convene a discussion on community radio’s important role in fighting back.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued fresh guidance for vaccinated individuals. In addition, numerous states are allowing facilities and sporting events to resume normal operations. However, the return to normal belies a serious health concern: the soaring numbers of Americans hesitant to receive the vaccine or who refuse it altogether.

Those choosing not to get vaccinated is considered an issue by medical experts for many reasons. Vaccine avoidant parents may decline the vaccine for their children, which could create opportunity for coronavirus spread in schools. Care for those who might not fully understand the risks posed by the virus can stress local healthcare systems. In addition, unvaccinated people have ignited worries about COVID-19 variants.

While a lack of engagement with the science is at the heart of some people’s vaccine hesitance, malignant forces are also at play. COVID-19 conspiracy theories, false information about vaccinations, and weaponized social media are deepening divisions and creating confusion in cities and towns everywhere.

NFCB is offering tips for community radio stations on their own reopening plans. We’re also presenting tactics for community media to create awareness among listeners.

At July’s Wish You Were Here 2021 unconference, NFCB will unpack how community media can address local conflicts about vaccination. What are the foundations of beliefs against the coronavirus vaccine? How can community media help address the underlying issues?

Aimee Rinehart and Jaime Longoria of First Draft will bring research as well as practical insights to the conference. Rinehart is deputy managing director at First Draft, and led the group’s 2020 election work to inform newsrooms about online disinformation. Longoria is an investigative researcher who previously worked as a researcher with NBC News Investigations.

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters welcomes you to a discussion on how public media can address the flood of anti-vaccine memes, fake news and information biases to help communities. You can register for this session here.In addition to this public event, NFCB is offering member-exclusive sessions in July. See the full list here. Registration links and further information are in NFCB’s Solution Center. (login required)

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