New York: As the US gears up for a massive vaccination effort to beat the COVID pandemic, experts have called upon the federal government and the countrymen to be vigilant against anti-vaccination advocates and their "rumours, misinformation, and conspiracy theories in a fractured media universe".
The experts -- Ali Mokdad of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Children's Center for Vaccine Development in Houston, and Walter Orenstein of Emory University -- are calling for a national communications strategy to counter such misleading information.
This strategy demands "an unprecedented level of communication between federal agencies and the American people," the experts said in a commentary published in EClinicalMedicine, an online publication of the international medical journal The Lancet.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday gave the final go-ahead to the country's first COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
The first shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will begin arriving in US states from Monday, an official of President Donald Trump's administration said.
"We must recognise the pervasive aspects of anti-vaccine messaging across the Internet, including social media and e-commerce platforms," the three experts wrote.
"Anti-vaccination rumours, misinformation, and conspiracy theories swirl in a fractured media universe; their origins are diverse and include dedicated anti-vaccine organisations and political extremist groups."
They also stressed that safety and efficacy of each vaccine must be "paramount."
Possible side effects or adverse reactions to vaccinations need to be tracked and monitored.
Orenstein remarked that vaccines represent the best way people can protect themselves against the deadly virus.
"Vaccines do not save lives. Vaccinations save lives," Orenstein said.
"A vaccine dose that remains in the vial is zero percent effective, no matter the results of the clinical trials."