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Dec. 2, 2020, 10:08 p.m. EST

Vaccine misinformation is the next big pandemic problem, UCSF doctor warns

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By Mike Murphy

Coronavirus vaccines are on the way, but the country will likely soon have to deal with another major problem: Misinformation.

That’s the concern of Dr. Bob Wachter, a professor and chair of the University of California, San Francisco’s department of medicine.

In a Twitter thread Tuesday and in an interview Wednesday with San Francisco’s KGO-TV , Wachter said the U.S. needs to develop a strong campaign to combat vaccine misinformation.

Read: What we still don’t know about COVID vaccines after the U.K.’s emergency-use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech candidate

Wachter said he’s especially worried about normal illnesses and deaths being blamed on the vaccines.

“There will be thousands of people that get a vaccine and in a month or two they have a heart attack, or in a month or two they have a stroke, or a month or two, they come down with cancer, have zero to do with the vaccines, that has to be absolutely clear,” he told KGO.

Wachter said the message that the vaccines are safe and effective must be clear and consistent, from the president down to local health officials.

“We’ve gotta have a really vigorous anti-misinformation campaign and judging by how we blew it on masks, that makes me very worried,” he told KGO.

Also read: CDC director warns the next three months will be ‘the most difficult’ in public health history

On Twitter, Wachter said that despite “the cataclysmic current state of Covid (likely to get worse, I fear)” the vaccine news “remains astoundingly positive.”

“Yes I have worries, but the light at the end of the tunnel is increasingly bright,” he said. “We just need to get there.”

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