E-learning: How to address online vaccination misinformation

E-learning course

An e-learning course aimed at understanding and addressing online vaccination misinformation. It is designed to support public health practitioners and risk communicators in fighting the spread of vaccination misinformation on social media and other digital platforms.

The training pulls together the latest research in the fields of psychology, social behavioural science, and communication, and provides evidence-based strategies and tools to address online vaccination misinformation. It is self-paced and open to all. Although it is non-moderated, the course features videos from experts in vaccinology, behaviour change and infodemic management, as well as animations, good practice examples, and numerous links to supplementary materials. A Discussion Forum is also available for those who want to engage with other learners on the course.

The spread of vaccination misinformation can lead to decreased confidence in vaccines and ultimately thereby to reduced vaccine acceptance and uptake. Results from a Eurobarometer survey in 2019 show that almost half of people in the EU think that vaccines can often produce severe side effects and 38% believe that vaccines cause the disease against which they protect. However, vaccines used in the EU/EEA have been proven safe and by far the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases.

This course was recognised by the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA) as a Continuing Training and Educational Event, a title which attests the quality of public health events designed for training and educational purposes. Every learner concluding the training will be awarded 4 Continuous Professional Development points, corresponding to 4 hours of active learning.

Some of the topics covered in the training include:

  • The spectrum of vaccine decision-making and the factors affecting vaccine acceptance
  • Common themes in vaccine misinformation
  • How to monitor social media so as to identify misinformation in public online conversations
  • The social listening cycle and its stages
  • The importance of health and vaccine literacy in recognising vaccine misinformation and increasing vaccine uptake
  • The most common misleading techniques
  • When to address misinformation: the prebunking and debunking approaches
  • How to monitor and evaluate interventions aimed at addressing online misinformation about vaccination