The HSE and the Department of Health continue to work with social media companies

HSE Press Release: Wednesday, 30th December 2020

Our vaccine communications programmes are based on insights and evidence from the people we care for, our staff and healthcare professionals. As we have successfully done with existing vaccination programmes and with the Covid-19 vaccine programme, we will share factual, up-to-date information from trusted sources, and will ensure that we use the full range of channels and platforms to reach people. We have agreements with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that mean searches for vaccine information in Ireland will prompt users to visit the HSE website content in the first instance. We had similar partnerships in relation to Covid-19 information. We would ask that people get their information from reputable sources and follow the public health advice available on hse.ie and gov.ie.

Paul Reid, CEO, HSE, said: “We are providing regularly updated information on the HSE website and are working with Facebook and Twitter to make sure the public get accurate, reliable health information in relation to vaccines. Public safety is our top priority and it’s absolutely crucial everyone is able to access reliable, accurate. I really welcome their support in signposting people to the content that we have on hse.ie. The Covid vaccine gives everybody a significant shine of light and gives everybody a boost to look forward to into 2021.”

Ronan Glynn, Deputy CMO, Department of Health said: “I welcome the work being done to counter misinformation and disinformation related to COVID-19. The potential for false claims, myth and rumour to negatively influence those in our society who have genuine and very understandable questions about the new vaccine remains a concern. 

The Department of Health and the HSE will offer factual, up-to-date and accessible information to allow everyone to make an informed and confident decision about the COVID vaccine - for themselves and for their families.

I strongly advocate that people access information from trusted sources, including www.gov.ie/covid and www.hse.ie and, of course, their local health professionals including their GP or pharmacist.”

Sinéad McSweeney, MD of Twitter Dublin and VP of Public Policy, Twitter EMEA:  “At Twitter, we recognise the role the service plays in disseminating credible public health information. We recently  expanded our COVID-19 misinformation policy to now cover Tweets which advance harmful, false or misleading narratives about COVID-19 vaccinations. We are working with health authorities, including the HSE and Dept of Health in Ireland, on the COVID-19 #KnowTheFacts search prompt – a partnership that aims to ensure high visibility access to trusted and accurate public health information on our service, for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Gareth Lambe, Head of Facebook Ireland: “We’re very pleased to continue working with the HSE on their communications campaigns for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Ireland. Since March, we’ve been working with the HSE to keep people accurately informed during the COVID-19 public health crisis by providing free advertising for their public health campaigns, connecting people to accurate and authoritative information and preventing the spread of harmful misinformation.” 

While the introduction of the vaccine is a very positive development, it is critical that all of us keep in mind that it is not our first line of defence against Covid-19 for now, nor will it be for some time to come. Everyone in Ireland, and our health service and the people we care for, will need to focus on and sustain the prevention and protective actions that have become part of how we are working and living. Our advice to the public this week remains the same, and remains very important as we move into a period of reduced restrictions and potential for more movement and time spent with people important to us. Please keep your guard up, keep your numbers of contacts as low as possible, keep washing your hands and maintaining social distance. Avoid crowds, wear your face coverings, and try to meet people outside if you can, as indoor or unventilated spaces increase the risk of transmission.

 

ENDS

Last updated on: 30 / 12 / 2020