There is a LOT of misinformation surrounding vaccination these days. The “anti-vaxxers,” as they are often called in the media, blame vaccines for a range of illnesses, including autism, multiple sclerosis, SIDS, and a multitude of other maladies. The biggest challenge with this rhetoric is that arguments against vaccination are made with little or no scientific facts. To make matters even worse, many of the diseases that the anti-vaxxers target are typically childhood illnesses, which make their claims even more emotionally charged and jarring.
Much of the negative hype surrounding vaccines stems from a now well-discredited piece published in 1998 by Dr. Wakefield. The article erroneously linked autism to the MMR vaccine. This falsified paper was seized upon by the likes of Jenny McCarthy, Dr. Mercola, and Dr. Bob (pediatrician and author of The Vaccine Book).
To help combat all of the confusing mixed messages surrounding vaccination in the media a recent online initiative by the Public Health Association of BC (PHABC) in Canada has been launched called “I Boost Immunity”. I Boost Immunity offers a crowdsourced alternative to all the mis-information. The program is structured so that people can join the I Boost Immunity website and become an advocate of immunization, called a Booster.
Boosters can not only educate themselves, but they can also share articles and stories through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email. The platform includes a ‘Tell us your story’ application, which encourages people to share why they support immunization and ‘Booster U’, a short training course designed to help prepare new boosters to become confident and successful immunization champions. I Boost Immunity Boosters are awarded points for each activity they perform. As points are accumulated, they are recognized with online achievement badges, and are also able to redeem their points for I Boost Immunity themed rewards. At its core, the program is based on the belief that educating others using stories combined with scientific facts can have a real and lasting impact among friends, families and co-workers. Ultimately, the goal of I Boost Immunity is to raise awareness and action in areas that have lower than optimal immunization rates in British Columbia.
To learn more, visit: www.iboostimmunity.ca