Myths, false claims and reports of bad science can spread like wildfire on social media and by word of mouth, but scientists affiliated with AAAS programs are working strategically to combat science misinformation. In the new video series “AAAS Voices: Countering Science Misinformation,” experts explain the challenges of misinformation on addressing timely topics such as climate change, technology and health, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientists share how they combat misinformation and offer strategies for how their fellow scientists can productively address and correct the inaccuracies they encounter.
As a microbiologist who develops and tests vaccine prototypes for use against tropical and emerging diseases, Maria Elena Bottazzi understands the challenges of cutting through the noise to share accurate, easy-to-understand information about vaccine safety. Bottazzi, the associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, noted that to reach people who might be concerned about vaccine safety, a helpful tactic is demystifying the vaccine development process. Sharing evidence about the rigor of that process can help boost confidence in vaccine safety, Bottazzi said.
Bottazzi offered additional recommendations to her fellow scientists for avoiding and combating misinformation, some of which she honed as a 2017-2018 fellow in AAAS’ Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement with Science, and sources for expert information about vaccines.
“It’s crucial for us to rapidly increase the efficiency of how we disseminate and reach and translate” useful information about vaccines – and about all science knowledge, said Bottazzi.
[Associated image: Baylor College of Medicine]