66: New Health Misinformation Toolkit

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy unveils a new health misinformation toolkit; Dr. Anne Zink, ASTHO President-Elect, gives parents five reasons to vaccinate their kids against COVID-19; Sami Jo Freeman, Deputy Communications Director for the...

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U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy unveils a new health misinformation toolkit; Dr. Anne Zink, ASTHO President-Elect, gives parents five reasons to vaccinate their kids against COVID-19; Sami Jo Freeman, Deputy Communications Director for the Missouri Department of Health, says the state’s vaccine lottery helped combat misinformation; and Dr. Umair Shah, Washington’s Secretary of Health, tells us what he’s thankful for this month.

U.S. Surgeon General: Health Misinformation Reports and Publications

U.S. Surgeon General Document: Confronting Health Misinformation

ASTHO Video: Dr. Anne Zink - 5 Reasons to Vaccinate Kids Against COVID-19

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services webpage: Be A MO VIP

APHA webpage: Public Health Thank You Day

ASTHO logo



This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Friday, November 12th, 2021. I'm Robert Johnson.

Here's today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.



Even as we speak, the inboxes of parents all around the country are being flooded with health misinformation.


U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy saying the arrival of a COVID vaccine for children has given new life to online misinformation, fooling parents into making potentially dangerous decisions with their kids' health.


They're seeing it more through on their social media feeds; they're getting it in text threads from family and friends.

A lot of this is being shared inadvertently, if you will, without the knowledge that this information is in fact inaccurate and misleading, but that is the reality of what we're dealing with now.


On Tuesday, General Murthy helped unveil a new health misinformation toolkit during an online forum hosted by the Knight Foundation.


It has a health misinformation checklist to help people evaluate the accuracy of health-related content that they encounter. It has tips on how individuals can talk to loved ones about health misinformation. It has an outline of common types of misinformation and disinformation tactics, has reflections and examples of times the individuals may have encountered misinformation.



A campaign to vaccinate holdouts in Missouri did more than protect people from COVID-19.

Missouri Department of Health deputy communications director, Sami Jo Freeman, says the state's vaccine lottery also helped combat misinformation.


We have a website called MOstopsCOVID.com that we directed all of our traffic to and ran the program through. And one of the benefits that was easy to measure was actually the increased traffic on the website throughout the MO VIP, but also to specific pages that were directing people towards factual information.

So for me, that brings me to a point where my number one lesson learned is that we tied all of the MO VIP in the incentive program into accurate information about the vaccines as well.


Between July and October, vaccinated Missouri residents could enter for a chance at one of 900 prizes worth $10,000 each.


ASTHO president elect, Dr. Anne Zink, has a list for parents worried about the pediatric COVID vaccine. On a recent call with the media, Alaska's chief medical officer and mother of two began her list talking about vaccine safety.


Millions of vaccines have been given across the state, across the country, and billions across the world. While the peds vaccine is new, the science is not new, the data is not new, and it has been an extension of the information that we've already have.


Also on Dr. ZinK's list: the vaccine keeps kids healthy and protects them from long COVID; it can save a family time; and it's the best defense against the virus. And it protects all family members, young and old.


It's clear now that children can efficiently transmit COVID-19 and there may be others in your family or your community who are at risk, including those less than five who cannot yet be vaccinated, elders, those who are immunocompromised. And again, the data has become clear—children can transmit COVID-19; and the more people that have immunity in your household, the less transmission of COVID-19 there is.



Finally this morning, Washington secretary of health, Dr. Umair Shah, offers a thankful note, helping us with our extended celebration of Public Health Thank You Day planned for Monday, November 22nd.


I feel fortunate. I feel blessed. I feel thankful for just the ability to be alive right now, be protected from this horrific once in a century pandemic.

I'm thankful for all the people that helped me get there—which is all the public health folks, all the healthcare folks, all the scientists, all the community members that have really done everything to do their part so we can fight this pandemic.



Every story in this newscast has a link to follow for more information—those can be found in the show notes.


That'll do it for today's report.


Make sure to follow us on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. You can also listen on Alexa or Google assistant.

If you have time, we'd be grateful if you could leave us a rating and a review.


Be sure to join us again Monday morning for more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a good weekend.

Sami Jo Freeman

Deputy Communications Director, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

Anne Zink MD FACEP

Chief Medical Officer for the State of Alaska