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Understanding Vaccine Hesitancy and Social Media’s Role in Spreading Vaccine Misinformation

Class Details

Vaccine hesitancy has been a longstanding issue, even before the coronavirus pandemic. The growth of vaccine hesitancy in recent years is most commonly attributed to the anti-vaccine movement. Social media is often at the heart of this conversation as a tool used to spread vaccine opposed information and to connect vaccine-hesitant people with each other. This webinar aims to give an overview of understanding vaccine hesitancy, both around childhood vaccines and the COVID-19 vaccine, and how social media has facilitated this movement.

Learning objectives:
1. Understand why someone is vaccine-hesitant or “anti-vaccine”
2. Understand how social media (e.g., Twitter, FB, etc.) has influenced the growth of vaccine hesitancy
3. Identify the next steps going forward to solve the issue.

Kolina Koltai studies how groups’ use of sociotechnical systems affects decision making and information behavior. She researches information-seeking behaviors, trust assessment of information (and misinformation), and decision making with a focus on when people dissent from the scientific mainstream (e.g., vaccine dissent). She specifically focuses on how social networking sites and digital communities interact with information behavior practices around health and science. Koltai received her Ph.D. in Information Studies from the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for an Informed Public at The University of Washington.

Sponsored by The National Network of Libraries of Medicine- Middle Atlantic Region, a designated provider of contact hours (CECH) in health education credentialing by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., this program is designated for Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and/or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) to receive up to 1 total Category I contact education contact hour. Advanced level continuing education hours are 0.

Please note: to claim CHES CECH, a participant must log into the session using the WebEx link provided upon registration. In addition, you may only receive CHES CECH for this session if you have not previously received credit for attending this course or watching the recording of this course.

Class Date:
Region/Office: National, MCR
Mar 1, 2021
1:00PM - 2:00PM ET
Sharon Han, Associate Fellow
Margie Sheppard, MLS, Community Engagement Coordinator
Continuing Education Credits: 
This class is now closed to registrants.

Online health misinformation is a widespread problem, with false or misleading information about both longstanding health concerns like cancer and emergent situations like the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the internet at a rapid pace. Sometimes questionable health information is obvious, but it can also be difficult to recognize and can potentially reach millions of people. This series brings expert speakers to discuss various aspects of online health misinformation, how to identify it, and how to help curb its spread.


After listening to the guest speaker and participating in webinar chat and polls, participants will be able to :

  1. Identify aspects of misinformation and its effect on online health information
  2. Recognize the impact of misinformation on health literacy
  3. Describe and reflect on the effectiveness of methods used to curb the spread of health misinformation in online environments