Forum tackles vaccine hesitancy, misinformation

Global Shapers Community Bandar Seri Begawan (GSCBSB) organised a ‘Vaccine Hesitancy and Misinformation of COVID-19’ online forum on Sunday. It was part of a three-week Homebound Workshop series.

The two panellist were Ministry of Health (MoH) Head of Corporate Communications Athirah binti Yussof and epidemiologist, social scientist, and doctoral student at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Prativa Baral.

The forum was moderated by GSCBSB’s Fadli bin M Zaini and Nadia binti Aji.

Some 85 participants attended the forum via Zoom and YouTube livestream.

The forum featured discussions surrounding awareness on vaccination, challenges faced due to vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, inequitable distribution of vaccines and the use of science to dispel myths and tackle misinformation. There was also a questions-and-answers session.

Athirah shared that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is highly transmissible and the MoH is aiming to vaccinate as many people as possible. The chance of fully-vaccinated people transmitting the virus to others is relatively low.

Baral said there are two types of false information – misinformation and disinformation. Misinformation is false or out-of-context information that is presented as fact regardless of intent to deceive the readers while disinformation is intentionally false and intended to deceive and mislead.

Both panellists reminded the audience to get vaccinated as soon as possible and check the sources of the COVID-19 information they received. In Brunei, the most reliable source is the MoH that can be reached through 148 Health Line.

Attendees of the forum. PHOTO: GSCBSB