Health professionals meet in Kansas City to counter false vaccine information

Data pix.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- More than 3 million people are killed every year from diseases that can be prevented with vaccines. However, doctors are concerned that more Americans are choosing not to get immunizations for themselves or their children based on false information.

Now, health care workers from around the region are learning how to better counter misinformation on immunizations.

Learning how to talk about vaccines with patients, in a way they understand, has become crucial for health care workers to get accurate information out to the public. Too often, experts say, parents rely on false information from the internet or reach uninformed conclusions based on personal experiences.

"One is: 'I got sick from the vaccine,'" Dr. Angela Myers, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children's Mercy Hospital, said. "If you have an immune response to the vaccine, you have a little bit of fever, a little bit of body ache, that a good thing. That means your immune system recognizes it as foreign and is developing antibodies to develop protection against the actual disease."

The United States has seen two measles outbreaks in the last two years. Measles is a deadly disease that can be easily prevented with a vaccine.

Countering false information on social media is not easy, but health care professionals believe open, thoughtful and non-judgmental discussions are the best method to convince folks that vaccines work.

However, professionals say most people still trust their own doctors.

Doctors compared fighting false perceptions on immunization to sorting out fact from fiction in political campaigns. They said there's a lot of fake news on social media, and vaccines are not immune from disinformation.

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