To counter online misinformation, it helps to knock on doors.
What does it take to get credible information about the coronavirus vaccine, and the vaccines themselves, to more people?
The other surprise was how effective it was for someone to stand on a person’s doorstep and talk about their own experience getting a coronavirus vaccine and answer questions. The outreach group talked to each household for half an hour or longer sometimes. That may make more of a difference than any online health campaign ever could.
Internet platforms amplify misinformation, and countering it isn’t simple. It takes more than a celebrity posting a vaccine selfie on Instagram.
I heard people ask in my reporting, Why should they get an American vaccine when the Russian one is better? (Those articles tend to cite real statistics but in misleading contexts.) I asked one man I met, George Rodriguez, where he had read that, and we figured out that it was from one of those Russian news sites.
There have been concerns among some Republicans that people will be forced to get vaccinated, but that isn’t happening.
In just the last few weeks, I’ve gotten more optimistic about closing the vaccination gap. There have been huge strides in reaching people, getting those walk-in vaccination clinics open or taking vaccines to people, and addressing people’s concerns.
It’s worth paying attention when China, the United States and Europe are all seeking some measure of technology independence.
China has long been a country where homegrown technology rules. But increasingly, Paul and Steven wrote, China’s “leaders are accelerating plans to go it alone.”
The zeal for technology autarky underscores two points. First, more technologies are becoming — like barrels of oil or emergency vaccine stockpiles — something that countries consider important to national security. And second, the line between pragmatism and nationalism gets fuzzier by the day.
It’s probably impossible for any country to become fully independent in technology, as Paul and Steven wrote. More self-reliance may still be worthwhile, but it’s tricky to know when a desire for more homegrown technology is necessary, and when it’s a waste of money, self-defeating or even dangerous.
Tech self-sufficiency is a goal that sounds completely sensible. The devil, as always, is in the details.
Source: New York Times