Strategies for Effective Health Communication during the Coronavirus Pandemic and Future Emerging Infectious Disease Events

Emily K. Vraga, Kathryn H. Jacobsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

An emerging infectious disease event like the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic demands careful communication of public health messages to diverse audiences. However, misinformation is easily generated and amplified when a rapidly evolving epidemiological situation is coupled with gaps in scientific knowledge about a novel pathogen. Groups involved in health policy research, advocacy, implementation, and enforcement must be aware of three key challenges as they develop and apply communication strategies during emergencies: (i) information overload, (ii) information uncertainty, and (iii) misinformation. These challenges can be countered by accurately communicating core messages to specific audiences, being transparent about the evidence base for recommendations and open about the likelihood that guidelines may change as scientific discoveries are made, and identifying which myths and conspiracy theories circulating on social media are so harmful that they must be directly countered. Data analytics can assist with the process of monitoring and evaluating the impact of organizational communications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-241
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Medical and Health Policy
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Policy Studies Organization

Keywords

  • coronavirus
  • health communication
  • misinformation

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