Every year, global leaders in infectious diseases gather at IDWeek, the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), to collaborate and discuss the latest science and bench-to-bedside approaches in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and epidemiology of infectious diseases, including HIV, across the lifespan.
This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top ten threats to global public health and pockets of low vaccination rates across the United States have resulted in a number of infectious disease outbreaks, including measles, hepatitis A and others. Despite this, a small but vocal group of advocates opposing vaccines continues to draw significant attention and use social media to spread misinformation about vaccines and their important role in public health.
Advocacy efforts around vaccines have never been more important and it is vital that we take action. In an effort to create a more balanced, science-based narrative on social media,
JOIN THE IDWEEK TWITTER STORM
WHAT’S A TWITTERSTORM?
It’s a sudden spike in activity surrounding a certain topic on Twitter. A Twitterstorm is most effective when many people join their voices at once.
HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE?
Tweet on October 3 from 1:30 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. E.T. and share why you choose to vaccinate and pledge to get vaccinated. Inspiration for posts include:
- A personal story about how vaccines have impacted your life
- A positive message about the importance of vaccination
- An article or research that you found interesting and encouraged you to talk about vaccination
Encourage your followers to also participate and don’t forget to use our dedicated Twitterstorm hashtag!*
CHANGE YOUR PROFILE PICTURE
On October 3, switch out your profile picture to the photo below to show your followers that you’re participating in the Twitterstorm and encourage them to participate as well, sharing why they choose to vaccinate. Click to switch!
Below are examples of Tweets to post during the Twitterstorm. Some are generally about why you may choose to vaccinate; others share vaccine facts — all share positive vaccine messages.
I vaccinate my children to protect them and give them the best chance to live a healthy life. #WhyIVaccinate
Getting a flu shot is proven to decrease your chances of getting the flu and if you do get it, to decrease the severity of symptoms and how long you’re sick. I get my flu shot every year. #WhyIVaccinate
Vaccines prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide each year and are one of the best ways to protect yourself and your loved ones. Support vaccination at all ages and tell us #WhyIVaccinate
Over 19 million children globally don’t have access to life-saving vaccines – expanding access would save over 1.5 million additional lives each year. #WhyIVaccinate#VaccinesWork
Vulnerable populations, including children & the elderly, are more susceptible to contracting diseases. Getting vaccinated protects you and those around you. Vaccinate today. #WhyIVaccinate #VaccinesWork
DYK that vaccines are among the most thoroughly tested, safest & effective interventions we have to protect our health? Vaccines save lives. Join us and share #WhyIVaccinate
Vaccination campaigns have eliminated or nearly eliminated deadly diseases such as polio, rubella, diphtheria and smallpox. When you get vaccinated you protect yourself and those around you. #WhyIVaccinate #VaccinesWork
Vaccines are one of the best tools we have to prevent illness and protect ourselves and those around us. Join the @IDWeek2019 Twitterstorm and share your story about ##WhyIVaccinate.
Vaccines can help limit the spread of #antimicrobialresistance globally by preventing infections in the first place. Fewer infections = fewer opportunities to inappropriately use #antibiotics, slowing the development of #AMR. ##WhyIVaccinate #VaccinesWork
DYK vaccines prevented 10 million deaths globally between 2010 and 2015? Decades of science prove vaccines work – talk to your doctor to make sure you’re up to date on all your vaccines!#WhyIVaccinate#VaccinesWork
Check out @CDCgov recommended #immunization schedule for children, adolescents and adults and talk to your doctor to make sure you’re protected. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html #WhyIVaccinate #VaccinesWork
Who needs vaccines? Short answer, everyone! Individuals of all ages should be vaccinated, but it’s particularly important that children, women of child-bearing age and older adults are up to date on their vaccines. Talk to your doctor to learn more. #WhyIVaccinate
The U.S. is experiencing #HepA outbreaks around the country. The #HepA vaccine is the best way to prevent infection. Talk to your doctor to see if you’re up to date on your #HepA vaccine. #WhyIVaccinate #VaccinesWork
The U.S. is experiencing the largest measles outbreak since the disease was eliminated from this country in 2000. Two doses of the #MMR vaccine is 97% effective in preventing measles. #WhyIVaccinate #VaccinesWork
TWEET @ CONGRESS MEMBERS
Thank you [Insert Congress member handle] for supporting the VACCINES Act and helping increase awareness about vaccinations and combating misinformation. #WhyIVaccinate #VaccinesWork
Tweet at:@RepKimSchrier, @michaelcburgess, @RepEliotEngel, @RepSchrader, @RepGusBilirakis, @RepGuthrie, @SenDuckworth, @SenGaryPeters, @SenPatRoberts
Thank you [Insert Congress member handle] for supporting the Protecting Seniors Through Immunization Act. Vaccination is important at all ages and we applaud your efforts to make adult vaccinations more affordable. #WhyIVaccinate #VaccinesWork
Tweet at:@maziehirono, @SenCapito, @SenWhitehouse
[Insert Congress member handle] please support the VACCINES Act [or Protecting Seniors Through Immunization Act]. Vaccines save lives and are vital to protecting public health! #WhyIVaccinate #Vaccines Work
TWEET @ CELEBRITIES
[Insert pro-vaccine stakeholder or influencer handle] Thank you for supporting vaccines! We hope you’ll join us and share #WhyIVaccinate to help raise awareness about the importance of vaccines.
Tweet at: @daxshepard, @itsJulieBowen, @salmahayek, @BillGates, @melindagates, @JLo, @ serenawilliams, @oliviawilde, @kristiyamaguchi, @DevonESawa
I’M NOT ON TWITTER. HOW CAN I GET STARTED?
- Go to twitter.com and click “Join Twitter Today.”
- Fill out your name as you want it displayed on the site, your password and select your handle/username (@YOURNAME).
- It may take a few attempts for you to get the handle/username that you want because they are based on availability
- Continue to follow the prompts to upload a profile picture and write your bio
- Once you have an official Twitter account you can:
- Search for followers — search in the bar at the top of the screen for friends, coworkers, companies, industry leaders, journals, etc.
- Suggested accounts to follow:
- Contribute to the Twitter Community—tweet, retweet, reply and direct message.
- You can include pictures, a GIF, or a poll using the icons below the text
TWITTERSTORM BEST PRACTICES
- Keep tweets short, sweet and to the point and less than 280 characters (use our examples as a reference)
- Be careful with your words — do not post anything you wouldn’t say to your boss, your patients, or your grandmother
- Engage with the @IDWeek2019 Twitter account in your posts
- Use #WhyIVaccinate to participate in the Twitterstorm, as well as other relevant pro- vaccine hashtags (#).
- Examples: #Vaccines #Vaccinations #VaccinesNow #GetVaccinated #VaccinesWork
- Follow other pro-vaccine advocates
- Engage with your followers by retweeting and favoriting their posts
- Share graphics or other visuals to capture the attention of your followers
TWITTER RESPONSE MATRIX
Vaccines are a controversial topic – you may receive positive responses from others that also believe in the importance of vaccines, but you may get some comments from advocates opposing vaccines. We’ve included this chart to help you determine the best way to respond to comments when participating in the Twitterstorm.
|Social Media Inquiry/Comment
Category and Example
The content is positive, factual, balanced, neutral and not overly critical
Like and respond to the comment to acknowledge you saw their comment. Thanking followers for their support will help build a community for pro-vaccine advocates.
The post is from a potential anti-vaccine activist and includes misinformed or inaccurate information.
|Monitor and use your best judgement to respond with facts and key messages
If there is an opportunity to counter the post with accurate information, share a timely response that gives factual information and includes any resources for reference (blog post, press release, image or videos).
If the commenter continues to share responses with inaccurate or negative information and it ranks high in engagement among other users, refrain from further response and “mute” any additional responses. Continue to monitor the post.
The post is from a troll, most likely an activist with strong opinions against vaccinations who portrays vaccines in
|Mute the comment and block the user
You can mute the comment on your Tweet so your other followers won’t see it. You can also block the user from following you. Do not engage in any discussion with them. Their mind is made up and nothing you say will be able to change it.
FACTS ABOUT VACCINES
- Vaccines are backed by decades of scientific data demonstrating their safety and efficacy and are some of the most rigorously tested and observed public health interventions. (IDSA)
- Vaccines save the lives of an estimated 42,000 children each year in the United States and are one of the greatest tools we have for preventing disease. (IDSA)
- High vaccination rates help stop the spread of vaccine preventable diseases. When vaccination rates drop in a community the risk of an outbreak significantly increases. (IDSA)
- Vaccination campaigns have eliminated or nearly eliminated deadly diseases such as polio, rubella, diphtheria and smallpox. (AVAC)
PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACT OF VACCINATION
- Vaccinating a child according to the CDC vaccine schedule is the standard of care for pediatricians and is the result of decades of scientific and clinical testing by experts. (IDSA)
- The Vaccines for Children program provides immunizations to children in the United States who are unable to afford them and has saved nearly $259 billion in direct medical costs in the last 25 years.
- When parents choose not to vaccinate their children, they are not only putting their own children at risk, but also children who are too young, immunocompromised, or otherwise unable to receive the vaccine. (IDSA)
- Vaccines are important at every age, including MMR and DTaP for children; HPV and meningitis for adolescents; shingles and pneumonia for older adults; and influenza every fall and tetanus every 10 years for everyone. (CDC)
- Children and adults who live in communities with a high rate of vaccination are better protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. (CDC)
- Every year, more than 50,000 adults die from vaccine preventable diseases and thousands more suffer serious health problems that could have been prevented with immunizations. Adult vaccination rates remain unacceptably low for a variety of reasons including: lack of information about recommended vaccines, financial hurdles and technological and logistical challenges. (AVAC)
- Public health and healthcare workers are at a significantly higher risk of being exposed to vaccine preventable diseases since they closely interact with many other sick patients who may be at greater risk for infection. (IDSA)
VACCINATIONS ON A GLOBAL SCALE
- Globally, vaccines have prevented at least 10 million deaths between 2010 and 2015. (WHO)
- Every year, 19.4 million children under the age of one do not receive basic vaccines, and 60 percent of those children live in just ten countries. (WHO)
- Expanding access to vaccines globally could save 1.5 million lives. (WHO)
- Vaccines can help limit the spread of antimicrobial resistance — vaccinating both humans and animals and preventing infections in turn reduces the need for antibiotics and reduces the development of resistance. (WHO)
- Vaccine hesitancy – the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines – threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases. (WHO)
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has called vaccine hesitancy one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019. Global cases of measles are up 30%, and that number is even higher in the US.
U.S. VACCINE POLICY
- VACCINES Act: Lead-Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA) (@RepKimSchrier) Co-Sponsors-Mike Burgess (R-TX) (@michaelcburgess) Eliot Engel (D-NY) (@RepEliotEngel) Kurt Schrader (D-OR) (@RepSchrader) Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) (@RepGusBilirakis) Brett Guthrie (R-KY) (@ RepGuthrie) Senate-Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) (@SenDuckworth) Gary Peters (D-MI) (@ SenGaryPeters) Pat Roberts (R-KS) (@SenPatRoberts)
- The VACCINES Act creates a national database of immunization records to better understand changes over time and geography in vaccination confidence, vaccination rates, and vaccine refusal. This data can then be used to identify areas that have vaccine access issues, decreasing vaccine confidence, or are being targeted by anti-vaccine misinformation.
- Protecting Seniors through Immunization Act: Lead-Mazie Hirono (D-HI) (@ maziehirono) Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) (@SenCapito) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) (@ SenWhitehouse)
- Patients in the Medicare population face higher out of pocket costs for vaccines covered by Part D than any other public or private insurance patients. The Protecting Seniors Through Immunization Act seeks to eliminate this disparity by bringing Part D in-line with Part B coverage and require all CDC recommended vaccines to be available to patients for $0 no matter what part of Medicare coverage they fall under.
ABOUT VACCINE-PREVENTABLE DISEASES
- The MMR vaccine protects against three highly infectious diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. The CDC recommends children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination
- DTaP/DT and Tdap/Td vaccines protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis. The CDC recommends vaccination across the lifespan – children younger than 7 years of age receive DTaP or DT, while older children and adults receive Tdap or Td. Infants are particularly susceptible to contracting pertussis, so it’s important that anyone in close contact with infants is up to date on their vaccinations
- Every year in the United States, HPV causes 33,700 cases of cancer in men and women. To prevent HPV-associated cancers, the CDC recommends that boys and girls age 11– 12 receive two doses of the HPV vaccine; the vaccine can be given as early as age 9. Children who start the vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday need three shots given over 6 months. If your teen hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, talk to his/her doctor about getting it as soon as possible.
- Meningococcal disease is often serious and can include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). In severe cases, death can result in as little as a few hours. All 11 to 12-year olds should get a meningococcal conjugate vaccine, with a booster dose at 16 years old. The CDC also recommends meningococcal vaccination for other children and adults who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease.
- The CDC recommends two doses of the chickenpox vaccine for children under 6 and anyone who hasn’t gotten the chickenpox. The vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing chickenpox. When you get vaccinated, you protect yourself and others in your family and community, including those with weakened immune systems or pregnant women. Shingles is a related disease and the risk for contracting the disease increases with age. The CDC recommends adults 60 and older receive the shingles vaccine to reduce the likelihood of postherapetic neuralgia (PHN) and reduce pain and other complications in some people who still get shingles after being vaccinated.
- Pneumococcal disease can cause many types of illnesses, including ear infections and meningitis and is common in young children, but older adults are at greatest risk of serious illness and death. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13®) protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria. The CDC recommends PCV13 for use in infants and young children and adults 65 years or older. Older children and adults younger than 65 years old who are at increased risk for getting pneumococcal disease may also need a dose of PCV13.
- The flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related visits to the doctor each The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated every flu season. Children 6 months through 8 years of age may need 2 doses during a single flu season. Everyone else needs only 1 dose each flu season.
- Hepatitis A is a communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) Since 1996, the number of cases reported each year in the U.S. has dropped from around 31,000 cases to fewer than 1,500 cases, but the U.S. is currently seeing a number of outbreaks across the country. The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to receive 2 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine for long-lasting protection. These doses should be given at least 6 months apart. Hepatitis B infection also affects the liver and can lead to chronic infection. The hepatitis B vaccine is available for all age groups to prevent HBV infection.
RESOURCES TO SHARE ON TWITTER
ARTICLES SUPPORTING VACCINATION
- Should you get vaccinated against these germs?
- Fighting Disinformation With Credible Information About Vaccines
- Confused About Who Should Get the HPV Vaccine, and When? The CDC Has New Recommendations
- How To Tell If You’re Protected By The Measles Vaccine
- Nonmedical vaccine exemptions ‘violate’ a ‘fundamental right’ of children
- ‘We are Going to Have More:’ Measles Threat Grows
- ‘They have to get the shots’: Trump, once a vaccine skeptic, changes his tune amid measles outbreaks
- The vaccine fight: a mother’s battle to protect her daughter in California
CREDIBLE SOURCES FOR VACCINE INFORMATION