The communication department of the Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) and research staff at the center have been since last April advising verification platforms to combat misinformation related to COVID vaccines. Thanks to funding from Google news, ISGlobal provides scientific support to Aleteia, I.Media and Verificat.cat, creating an alliance that has received one of the 11 six-month grants that Google has awarded to fight the misleading news about the new vaccines.
In the world of verification, misleading news often reappears. And the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. According to Sarukhan, “90% of the farces that circulate about Covid-19 are related to vaccines. And many of them come from misleading “recycled” information that the anti-vaccine movement had already used before”.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the ISGlobal had detected that vaccines generated special interest among the population. This led them to open a FAQ section on their website to answer society’s concerns.
Now, on the final stretch of the Google grant, it’s time to evaluate the initiative. And, according to Sarukhan, many lessons have been learned from this experience. From delving into disciplines such as nanotechnology, to finding the best way to address the public. And a clear intention to position ISGlobal as a reliable source of science and health news.
“When it comes to communicating science, we need to learn to listen more and not just say what we know. We need to explain things as openly as possible and respond with respect.”
Adelaida Sarukhan – ISGlobal
In addition, this collaborative effort to get truthful information, specifically to the Catholic community through the Aleteia and I.Media platforms, has allowed the institute to reach an audience that, until now, was hard to reach.