"Why do we need Social Media in Medicine?" - This is the most common question I'm asked when I talk about social media. Well, THIS is the reason: Calling out hype and bad information.
On Wednesday, December 4, 2013, the main topic of the Katie Couric show will be the "HPV Vaccine Controversy." You'll see the video preview above. Here is what is on the show website:
The HPV vaccine is considered a life-saving cancer preventer. But is it a potentially deadly dose for girls? Meet a mom who claims her daughter died after getting the HPV vaccine, and hear all sides of the HPV cancer controversy.
Now, you know what's going on here, right? It's well documented in the entertainment press that the ratings for the Katie show have been awful and there's been talk about canceling her show. Her show is so "successful" that just last week, it was announced that she's taken a new job with Yahoo as a news anchor. I mean, they'll give anyone an internet show. Heck, I'm an internet news anchor LOL.
If you're in any kind of medical field, I hope you make your social media voice be heard on Wednesday. Even if you're not in medicine, but you get mad at people who spread hype and bad information, I hope you make your social media voice be heard on Wednesday.
Now, don't misunderstand, my heart goes out to this mom who is going to share her story on the Katie show. It is a tragedy that her daughter passed away. However, making the link to the HPV vaccine, seems like a stretch to me. This mom has every right to share her story. But, we as a medical community also have every right to share our story.
Here are some facts from the Public Library of Science post about HPV Vaccine:
- More than 25,000 new cancers attributable to HPV occur in the United States each year. Almost 12,000 of these cases are cervical cancer in females; another 6,000 are oropharyngeal cancers in men.
- More than 100 million doses of the vaccine have been given since it was approved in 2006
- A study published in the British Medical Journal in October evaluated 997,000 girls, 296,000 of whom had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. More than 150,000 of those girls received all three doses. The results? Absolutely no link to short-or-long-term health problems. As Lisen Arnheim-Dahlstrom, the lead researcher on the study told Reuters Health, "There were not really any concerns before our study and no new ones after."
In addition here are some links from our friends at the Centers for Disease Control:
- Questions and Answers about HPV Vaccine
- Side Effects
- Vaccine Information Statement
- Questions and Answers about HPV Vaccine Safety
- Cervical Cancer: The Preventable Gynecologic Cancer
How do you fight emotion and hype, with facts and science. I challenge anyone who reads this post to use your social media voice to share the truth about vaccines. For grassroots clinicians like me, I challenge you to especially talk about vaccines on Wednesday with your patients to defuse the hype that this show may generate. The truth and the science are on our side. We just have to get the word out to the public, and most importantly, to our patients....