Advertisement

Canada must ‘immunize’ public against misinformation before COVID-19 vaccine arrives: Tam

Click to play video 'Alberta critical care doctor stresses importance of vaccines as COVID-19 long-term impacts begin to emerge' Alberta critical care doctor stresses importance of vaccines as COVID-19 long-term impacts begin to emerge
WATCH: Alberta critical care doctor stresses importance of vaccines as COVID-19 long-term impacts begin to emerge – Oct 16, 2020

Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself.

Dr. Theresa Tam says all Canadians must play a role in not letting false facts destroy the collective effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

That means they should not share information online that they have not verified as accurate.

Read more: Trudeau not taking kids trick-or-treating for Halloween this year due to coronavirus

“We’ve been working on various fronts, including looking at social media platforms in terms of combating mis-and-disinformation,” Tam said, adding that the country needed to “immunize the population” against misinformation before the vaccine arrives.

“We as a collective public health system, have tried through various means to provide information like these press briefings are web websites, guidance, et cetera. But we are aware, of course, that misinformation, this information exists,” Tam said.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video 'When can Canadians expect a COVID-19 vaccine?' When can Canadians expect a COVID-19 vaccine?
When can Canadians expect a COVID-19 vaccine? – Sep 30, 2020

There have been a number of false claims being spread about the Canadian pandemic effort in recent days, including one accusing the government of establishing COVID “confinement camps” and another alleging the government was planning to eliminate all personal debts, including mortgages and personal loans.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there are people trying to undermine credible sources on the pandemic and create chaos in democracies.

He says Canadians should look for multiple sources on information they read online, and should verify public health advice given on official websites for public health agencies.

— With files from Emerald Bensadoun