Govt Urged To Set Up Health Disinformation Unit To Boost Vaccine Uptake

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has called for the launch of a permanent health disinformation unit to increase trust in vaccination campaigns.

The IPPR is claiming that younger people in particular are more susceptible to health disinformation.

According to The Telegraph:

One in four Britons would not take up the offer of a flu jab, according to a survey, as a think tank called for a permanent health disinformation unit to be launched by Government.

The Institute for Public Policy (IPPR) said that despite the success of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the UK there was still “huge room for improvement” in jab uptake.

Polling by the IPPR and YouGov reported that 23 per cent of adults said they were not likely to get a winter flu vaccine if they were invited to.

It comes as flu hospitalisations in England jumped by more than 40 per cent in a week.

The number of flu patients increased from 966 to 1,377 in the past week, compared with just 22 recorded this time last year.

According to the poll, British adults in lower income occupations were:

-More likely to trust low quality information sources such as chat rooms and forums (19 per cent to 12 per cent)

-Less likely to feel safe in public spaces in the context of Covid-19 (55 per cent to 65 per cent)

-More likely if reluctant to take up the flu jab to say the experience of Covid-19 was a key reason why they were not likely to get vaccinated (25 per cent to 14 per cent).

Across the whole cohort who did not want to take the flu jab, a “small but sizeable” minority said work commitments were a barrier to uptake – particularly among younger people.

The report authors recommend that employers should enhance vaccine accessibility for staff, and enshrine a legal right to time off for vaccination and sick pay in the event of side effects.

They also call for a permanent health disinformation unit aimed at young people, run by the Department of Health and Social Care, and Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The joint venture could deploy new technologies to combat the spread of misinformation online, the authors said.

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