Infodemic may impact covid-19 vaccine campaigns: WHO1 min read . Updated: 24 Sep 2020, 06:16 PM IST
- The WHO and United Nations have jointly called on member states to develop and implement action plans to manage the infodemic by promoting timely dissemination of accurate information based on science and evidence
NEW DELHI: As countries make progress on developing a vaccine for covid-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations have once again warned against coronavirus "infodemic."
WHO said without appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests will go unused, immunisation campaigns or campaigns to promote effective vaccines will fail to meet targets, and the virus will continue to thrive. It added that technology was amplifying infodemic.
The covid-19 is the first pandemic in history in which technology and social media are being used on a massive scale to keep people safe, informed, productive and connected, the apex global public health agency said. "At the same time, the technology we rely on to keep connected and informed is enabling and amplifying an infodemic that continues to undermine the global response and jeopardizes measures to control the pandemic."
WHO also pointed out that disinformation has been polarising public debate on topics related to covid-19, amplifying hate speech, heightening the risk of conflict, violence and human rights violations, and threatening long-term prospects for advancing democracy, human rights and social cohesion.
The WHO and UN have jointly called on member states to develop and implement action plans to manage the infodemic by promoting timely dissemination of accurate information based on science and evidence.
"As soon as the virus spread across the globe, inaccurate and even dangerous messages proliferated wildly over social media, leaving people confused, misled and ill-advised," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
WHO defines an infodemic as an overabundance of information, both online and offline. It includes accurate information as well as mis- and disinformation.
In May, WHO member states had passed a resolution that recognised that managing infodemic was a critical part of controlling the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Indian government on Wednesday asked the 10 worst-hit states to enforce targeted public communication campaigns, focussing on behaviour change and educating people on how to live with covid 19 amid the unlocking of the country.