U.S. struggles to cut through anti-vaccine messaging, experts say

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U.S. struggles to cut through anti-vaccine messaging, experts say

The U.S. continues to struggle to increase vaccines despite recent gains from employers mandates.

The struggle of public health and government agencies to cut through anti-vaccine messaging is partly to blame, experts say.

Two experts who have been reporting and sharing good information, as well as calling out misinformation, are Dr. Eric Topol, dean of the School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in California, and Dr. Peter Hotez, director of Scripps Research Translational Institute in Texas.

To stay on top of the vast amount of information, both scientists attend a regular meeting among top U.S. scholars.

Which person can get the full sense of all the information out there, Topol said.

Topol said the gaps in information exist, in part, because of the speed with which the country's regulator and public health agencies filter through information, much of which comes from abroad. Unlike countries like Israel, the U.S. collects data via a decentralized system that is used for statistics collection.

So much of our problem is just because we are blind with inadequate data, said he added.

The struggle against disinformation is further impeding U.S. vaccination efforts for booster doses.

Scientists are kind of scratching their heads a bit because they lack the data to really make the best informed decision, Hotez said.

That was the case with the Pfizer PFE BioNTech BNTX vaccine booster and most recently on the FDA advisory panel's document about Moderna MRNA and Johnson Johnson JNJ boosters.

The struggles with information are happening at a time when more people than ever are watching the vaccine approval process amid a lot of anti-vaccine aggression that's looking to exploit any weakness in the system, Hotez said.

This is only red meat for them, he added.

The impact is already being seen, with recent surveys showing vaccine refusers feel validated because boosters doses are being used to help increase protection against the ongoing pandemic.

Most unvaccinated adults see the booster discussion as a sign that the vaccines are not working as promised, according to the survey.