US Surgeon General Warns False Information Can Spread ‘At An Unprecedented Speed’ Through Social Media

Milwaukee resident April Hill got vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as she was eligible. She hoped the rest of her family would follow suit, but her daughter and six grandkids, who live in Kentucky, remain unvaccinated.

The situation became all the more dire when Hill’s cousin in Georgia was put on a ventilator due to complications of COVID-19. That same cousin’s son recently died of COVID-19.

“When they got to the hospital they asked, ‘Can I get the vaccine now?'” Hill recalled. “And they said, ‘No, it’s too late.'”

Hill’s partner, John Spirewka, has also been dealing with vaccine-hesitant family members. His adult son doesn’t plan on getting the vaccine, while his other four children are vaccinated.

“I was excited. Like, ‘Hey, you know what? Everybody gets a shot, and we can do things again. We can actually get together as a family again.’ But we can’t.” Spirewka said.

Health officials from the U.S. Surgeon General to local health departments have called on the public to counter misinformation and encourage family and friends to get vaccinated against COVID-19. They acknowledge it can be difficult to do, but say it saves lives.

However not everyone is willing to join the pitched battle over facts, even if they’re vaccinated and want others to be.

On social media plenty of people stake out their stance on all things pandemic, including Facebook picture frames decrying “Disinformation is Deadly. Vaccines Save Lives.” Many even engage with those who wrongly claim COVID-19 is just like the common cold, vaccines for the disease don’t work or could be harmful.

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