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How to Find Trusted Information About Vaccines

There is a lot of COVID-19 vaccine information but not all of it is reliable. Here are tips to help you spot misinformation.

Last Updated: May 13, 2021


Information, misinformation and disinformation 

  • Information is something that is accurate to the best current knowledge. One of the difficulties with any new disease, like COVID-19, is that information changes over time as new science and knowledge emerge.  
  • Misinformation, on the other hand, is false information. Everyone believes they are sharing good information – but unfortunately, that is not always the case. And depending on what is being shared, the misinformation can turn out to be quite harmful even if that’s not the intention. When an issue has a lot of attention, and evidence changes quickly, information can quickly spiral into misinformation.
  • At the other end of the spectrum is disinformation. Unlike misinformation, this is false information created with the intention of profiting from it or causing harm. Disinformation generally serves some agenda and can be dangerous.

Top tips for navigating information

Who shared the information with you and where did they get it from? Even if the information is from friends or family, you still need to assess their source. 


To check for fake social media accounts, look at how long profiles have been active, their number of followers and their most recent posts. For websites, check the “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages to look for background information and legitimate contact details.


Other clues that a source may be unreliable or inaccurate include unprofessional visual design, poor spelling and grammar, or excessive use of all caps or exclamation points.

Headlines may be intentionally sensational or provocative to get a high number of readers. Make sure to read more than just the headline of an article – go further and look at the entire story


Search more widely than social media for information – look at print sources such as newspapers and magazines, and digital sources such as podcasts and online news sites. Diversifying your sources allows you to get a better picture of what is or is not trustworthy.

Search the author’s name online to see if they are real and/or credible. Check the URL, email address, or letterhead when you’re reading something from a new source. 


Spam can look real, but often the URL or email address will give away that the source is untrustworthy.

‎When you come across information, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Is this a recent story? 
  • Is it up to date and relevant to current events? 
  • Has a headline, image or statistic been used out of context?

Credible stories back up claims with facts – for example, quotes from experts or links to statistics or studies.

Everyone has biases and these factor into how people view what’s happening around them. Evaluate your own biases and why you may have been drawn to a particular headline or story. 


Reflect: What is your interpretation of it? Why did you react to it in that way? Does it challenge your assumptions, or tell you what you want to hear? What did you learn about yourself from your interpretation or reaction?

When in doubt, consult trusted fact-checking organizations, such as the International Fact-Checking Network and global news outlets focused on debunking misinformation and disinformation, including the Associated Press and Reuters. Look to Canadian sources like Science Up First.

Navigating the infodemic.jpg

Information sources 

Scientists around the world are working hard to keep up with the thousands of studies that have come out since COVID-19 appeared. But not everyone gets their information just from scientific studies. 

Public health and policy decision-makers look to a body of information when they develop guidance. One scientific study is not enough to shape policy – a consensus on all of the most up-to-date information is required for decision-making.

You might be getting information from a bunch of different places. Not all of this information will be trustworthy and unbiased and might include:

  • Official communications from governments and health agencies
  • News articles and opinion pieces
  • Messages from vloggers, bloggers, and podcasters
    • Social media influencers
    • Messages, posts from friends and family
    • Direct communication with those around you

If you’re looking for trusted sources of information, follow:

Before sharing something…

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How does this make me feel?
  • Why am I sharing this?
  • How do I know if it’s true?
  • Where did it come from?
  • Whose agenda might I be supporting by sharing it?

If you know something is false, or if it makes you angry, don’t share it to debunk it or make fun of it. That just spreads the misinformation or disinformation further. Learn more about how you can report misinformation online.

Related links

This content has been adapted from the WHO under creative commons.




SOURCE: How to Find Trusted Information About Vaccines ( )
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