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Catholic media and scientists join forces against vaccine misinformation

MICROGEN IMAGES / Science Photo Library via AFP

Magnús Sannleikur - published on 03/16/21 - updated on 03/16/21

The consortium is headed up by Aleteia, in collaboration with Verificat, a fact-checking agency, and I Media, a news agency that specializes in information from the Vatican.

In order to help to clarify fake news and misleading information about vaccines against COVID-19, an international consortium of Catholic media, news agencies and world-renowned scientists is being founded.

According to an announcement on the Google News Initiative blog, published this March 16, the project is one of 11 chosen from among 309 proposals originating from 74 countries, by the impartial jury of the COVID-19 Vaccine Counter-Misinformation Open Fund.

Pope Francis, the Holy See and bishops’ conferences from around the world have spoken out about the “moral duty” to get vaccinated to respect not only one’s own life, but also that of others.


SZCZEPIONKA NA KORONAWIRUSA

Read more:
Francis and Benedict get 2nd dose of Covid vaccine

In the worldwide Catholic community, especially on social networks, many scientific and ethical questions are being raised regarding the ethical character of the process of producing the vaccines. These issues need to be clarified or explained by scientists, bioethicists, and theologians. Whereas posing ethical questions on the use of vaccines is surely legitimate (as, for instance, seen in different statements released by the USCCB), they must be addressed clearly, without adding further misinformation. 

“The rapid nature of the COVID-19 vaccine development process and the great anxiety caused by the pandemic worldwide have made the topic of vaccination particularly susceptible to misinformation,” explains Google News Initiative.

“Journalists can play a fundamental role supporting an evidence-based discourse by listening to their audiences’ concerns and providing corrective information about misconceptions that circulate online and offline,” adds Google News Initiative, explaining the motives for their selection.

The founding media organizations of this consortium are Our Sunday Visitor, Družina, SanFrancesco.org, Religión Digital, Catalunya Religió, El Observador de la Actualidad and La Voz de Córdoba.

The project is open to all Catholic media organizations, and offers free access to verified information, as well as the possibility of consulting with the experts of the Consortium’s Scientific Committee.

Catholic media outlets interested in forming part of the Consortium can write to consortium@aleteia.org  by March 31st, 2021.

The Scientific Committee, which will offer scientific consulting, includes the Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a center of excellence in research,as well as experts in epidemiology, doctors, scientists, theologians and bioethicists

The complete list can be found at the end of this press release.

The consortium will publish an internet audience study (web listening) focused on the way in which media around the world are reporting on the process of immunization, carried out by the Blanquerna Observatory of Communication, Religion and Culture of Ramon Llull University of Barcelona. This institute will also perform a study of the impact that the informative efforts of the Consortium will have on the Catholic community worldwide.

For more information: press@aleteia.org

Members of the Scientific Committee

  • José Esparza, Former President of the Global Virus Network. Senior public health adviser at the World Health Organization (WHO). Professor of medicine at the Institute of Human Virology (University of Maryland School of Medicine).
  • Timothy P. Flanigan, Professor of Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University Division of Infectious Disease. Dr. Flanigan has spent much of his career working with HIV and Ebola patients.
  • Chris Lowney, Vice chair of the board of CommonSpirit Health, America’s largest nonprofit health system in the US with $29 Billion in revenues and more than 150,000 employees.
  • Ramón Tallaj, Chairman of SOMOS Community Care, a network of over 2,500 physicians in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn who have come together to ensure better health care for Medicaid members.
  • Michael Cappello, Professor of Pediatrics, Microbial Pathogenesis, and Public Health at the Yale School of Medicine. Director of Yale Africa Initiative
  • Luca Revelli, Professor at the Department of Medical and surgical sciences of the Catholic University of Italy  (Sacro Cuore). Endocrine Surgery at the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic (Rome).
  • José María Simón, Former president of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. Doctor in medicine and surgery.
  • Leticia Soberón, Co-founder of Dontknow.net. Member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications. Member of the board iMisión,
  • Antonio Gioacchino Spagnolo, Professor of Bioethics, Coordinator of the Section of Bioethics and Medical Humanities Department of Healthcare Surveillance and Bioethics School of Medicine Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore Rome (Italy).
  • Rodrigo Guerra, Member of the Pontifical Academy of Life (Vatican). Founder of the Centro de Investigación Social Avanzada (CISAV).
  • Concepció Mestres Miralles, Professor and Dean, Health Science, Ramon Llull University (Barcelona).
  • Michele Sorice, Full Professor of Democratic Innovation, of Political Sociology and of Media Studies at LUISS University, where he is also director of the  Centre for Conflict and Participation Studies (CCPS).
  • Francesc Torralba, Director Ethos Chair, Ramon Llull University.
  • Fr. Alberto Carrara LC, Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Director of the Research Group in Neurobioethics of the Regina Apostolorum University of Rome, Professor of Neuroethics at the Faculty of Psychology of the European University of Rome, and Fellow of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights.
  • Justo Aznar Lucea, Director of the Institute of Life Sciences of the Catholic University of Valencia 
  • Jordi Serrano Pons, Founder and CEO of UniversalDoctor and Epidemics.
Tags:
BioethicsCoronavirus
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