A new website launched by Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration is trying to dispel misinformation and conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to encourage more people to get their jabs.
The site, announced Wednesday by the governor, includes downloadable toolkits to counter misinformation found online and explain how the vaccine works, as well as cover concerns around pregnancy, side effects, safety and speed of the vaccine.
The site is also a source of countering the claims found and easily spread on social media, covering conspiracy theories about the vaccine.
"With more than 86% of New York adults having received at least one dose, we have made tremendous progress in getting people vaccinated — but there is still more work to do," Hochul said. "Misinformation is harmful and dangerous, especially to New Yorkers who remain hesitant about getting vaccinated, and we are fighting it on all fronts to ensure people know the real story about the vaccines: that they are safe, effective, and free. I urge all New Yorkers to actively take a role in helping their communities get the vax facts — so everyone can make an informed decision to protect themselves from this dangerous virus."
New York is also launching a digital ad campaign in an effort to reach more people who have yet to be vaccinated. The effort has the backing of public health officials in the U.S., who have spent parts of the last 20 months countering untrustworthy information found online.
"Health misinformation is an urgent threat to public health, especially as we begin outreach out to parents of children who may soon be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine," said Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general. "We all have a role to limit the spread of health misinformation, and I'm grateful that Governor Hochul and the state of New York are proactively working to combat vaccine misinformation. It's this kind of bold action that we need to ensure we all have accurate, science-based information to protect ourselves and our loved ones."
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