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COVID-19 misinformation

The challenges COVID-19 brings to healthcare seem to multiply by the day. If the mutation of the virus is not enough, the outbreak of misinformation around the pandemic has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare it an “infodemic”.

By nature of their work, healthcare practitioners are required to continually acquire information, filtering it, and applying it to the benefit of their patients and stakeholders. Misinformation, which is false or inaccurate information, undermines this process. Misinformation causes confusion and risk-taking behaviours that can harm health, leading to mistrust in health authorities and undermines the public health response.

COVID-19 vaccines are widely seen to be a game-changing tool in the fight against the pandemic. The WHO pointed out that ‘it’s not vaccines that will stop the pandemic, it’s vaccination’. Fair and equitable access to vaccines to all, remains a key requirement to protect the population at large from the virus.

Healthcare practitioners play a key role in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines and the HCPCA has worked with the National Department of Health and other stakeholders to ensure that our registrants be considered in any plans. It is becoming increasingly important that practitioners are supported by evidence-based advice to continue the vaccination rollout safely and effectively.

The HPCSA advises practitioners to defer to sources like the NICD and the Department of Health’s COVID-19 portal when dispensing advice on vaccinations. While guidance on COVID-19 keeps evolving, we ask practitioners to keep up to date with authoritative COVID-19 advice pages for the latest information.

Last Updated on 8 October 2021 by HPCSA Corporate Affairs