October 7, 2020 | technology | No Comments
Online misinformation is leaching out from cheap mobile phones and free Facebook plans used by millions in the Philippines, convincing many to reject vaccinations for polio and other deadly diseases.
Childhood immunisation rates have plummeted in the country — from 87 percent in 2014 to 68 percent — resulting in a measles epidemic and the reemergence of polio last year.
A highly politicised campaign that led to the withdrawal of dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in 2017 is widely seen as one of the main drivers of the fall.
But health experts also point to an explosion of vaccination-related misinformation that has undermined confidence in all types of immunisations.
In the northern city of Tarlac, government nurse Reeza Patriarca watched with horror the impacts of Facebook posts that falsely claimed five people had died after receiving an unspecified vaccination.
The posts, which have been shared thousands of times, went online in August,