Once misinformation has spread, it can create suspicion and broken trust between the public and their healthcare providers. Many marginalized groups also have a troubled history with the healthcare industry, meaning misinformation can widen existing divides.
To reach those already impacted by misinformation, healthcare providers and public health organizations must build back their trust. That can’t be accomplished just by correcting falsehoods, but by building long-term customer and patient relationships through effective engagement.
Healthcare providers and government agencies have already faced similar challenges overcoming fears around contact tracing and its privacy implications. Those efforts show clear, effective, and timely communication are the building blocks of trust. Every public health organization’s communications must address fears with understanding and patience—not just correction.
One of the best ways to achieve this is through transparency. It’s helpful to explain the limited risks that are present with vaccines—like the possibility of allergic reactions for specific populations—while also expressing the essential benefits vaccination has for our society at large. You can also create transparency by involving the public directly in your safety processes; inventive solutions like V-Safe, deployed by the CDC, make users an active participant in tracking vaccine safety and efficacy.