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Statement by the Director-General of WHO on the role of social media platforms in health information



Misinformation on vaccines is just as contagious and dangerous as the diseases that spread it. The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes Pinterest's leadership in protecting public health by providing only evidence-based information on vaccines to its users. We hope to see more social media platforms around the world for Pinterest.

Wrong information about vaccines has spread quickly on social media platforms in many different countries, including critical vaccination campaigns such as polio in Pakistan or yellow fever in Pakistan South America.

On social media platforms, many people are receiving their information and they are likely to be the most important sources of information for the next generation of parents. We see this as a critical issue that requires our collective efforts to protect people's health and lives.

The truth is that vaccines work. Smallpox has been eradicated through vaccines, and vaccines have brought us to the verge of polio eradication. The life-saving effects of vaccines have dramatically reduced the rates of many other diseases, including measles.

Vaccines are one of the strongest innovations in public health history and one of the best investments in a healthier and safer system world. The WHO estimates that vaccines save at least 2 million lives each year. Countless other children avoid debilitating illnesses, longer hospital stays and school holidays.

At the same time, although a social media response is essential, it is only one part of a comprehensive approach to ensuring broad trust in immunization. It also requires substantial government efforts in building health systems that earn this trust and address the needs and concerns of their parents.

After all, there is no health for everyone without vaccines for everyone. I look forward to the private sector better embrace the #healthforall mission and make life-saving health information more readily available to its users. And I urge them to do more to filter out misinformation and inaccuracies that prevent people from achieving health and well-being. #VaccinesWork


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