Cape Coral doctor part of COVID-19 vaccine ‘Disinformation Dozen’
CAPE CORAL, Fla.– With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increasing, health professionals want to make sure people are educated about the safety of vaccines instead of misinformation.
The New York Times recently published an article showing nearly two-thirds of all vaccine disinformation comes from 12 people. A study by the Center for Countering Digital Hate calls them the Disinformation Dozen.
At the top of the list is Cape Coral-based Dr. Joseph Mercola.
Mercola is active on social media and posting blog posts on his website, where some of his articles tout what he describes as harmful effects of vaccines. Some of his social media posts have even been flagged for inaccurate information by Facebook.
Earlier this year, the FDA issued a warning to Mercola that said some of his products were misbranded and unapproved, prohibiting them from being sold.
When asked for a comment, we received a response saying “Dr. Mercola flatly rejects any claims of disinformation and is a strong supporter of free speech.”
That response continued to say that Dr. Mercola, an osteopathic physician, does not think the vaccines are as effective as other organizations like the CDC have said and that there could be adverse reactions.
Other doctors, like Dr. Joseph Giaimo the president of the American Osteopathic Association, disagrees with Mercola and said the vaccines are safe, effective, and are backed by scientific evidence.
“Everyone has the right to their own opinion,” Dr. Giaimo said. “I think the science does not speak to that truly. We’re seeing the patients and people who have the best outcomes are the patients who got vaccinations.”
“I think when we see misinformation like this, unfortunately, it leads to harm for our patients,” Dr. Giaimo added.
Lyn Millner, a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, said when viewing any type of information, it is important to look at the source, any agenda, and be sure to look at more than one source.
“If we can put a check on our emotions, when we first look at a piece of misinformation, back up, take a breath and think critically, the power is in our hands to do something about it,” Millner said.
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