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Doctors bring their expertise on vaccines to YouTube

  • By Dr. Garth Graham
  • Director and Global Head of Healthcare and Public Health Partnerships, YouTube
  • Oct.13.2021
Announcing three new video series about vaccines in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the American College of Physicians.

For more than a century vaccines have been an important tool for public health, helping to prevent the spread of serious illness and saving millions of lives each year. In fact, just last week the WHO approved the world’s first vaccine to prevent malaria, which kills more than 250,000 children under the age of five each year in Africa.

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And every year, parents around the world protect their kids against illnesses like polio, measles and diphtheria with safe and effective vaccines. As with any healthcare decision, parents have questions about when, where, and how to get vaccines for their children as their kids come of age to get their first shot. Likewise, vaccines are important for adults to prevent diseases like flu, pneumonia, and shingles. Vaccines not only reduce the chance of infection, but also help prevent hospitalization, disability, exacerbation of chronic diseases, and death. Physicians are trusted messengers and play a critical role in educating their patients about which vaccines are recommended based on their age and risk factors.

That’s why we’re excited today to announce new partnerships with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the American College of Physicians on three video series to help answer top questions about vaccines, share the latest science, and make information from some of the world’s top vaccine experts available to everyone through YouTube.

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ ten-part series will answer some of the most common questions that parents ask pediatricians about their children’s immunizations, including why vaccines are recommended at certain ages, what side effects to anticipate, and how to reduce the pain of shots. The AAP has recently conducted research in partnership with the FrameWorks Institute into how to improve public understanding and acceptance of vaccines, and used this research to inform its approach to the video series. The series will feature straightforward, friendly advice from practicing pediatricians who talk with parents every day about their children’s immunizations. With these videos, AAP will bring the same kind of advice parents seek from their trusted pediatrician to YouTube, making it accessible to a broad audience of caregivers seeking accurate information about their children’s health.

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The renowned Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has already produced an extensive library of educational content about pediatric vaccines. Through this new partnership with YouTube, it will produce a series of videos featuring Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center and professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in some cases alongside influential pediatricians to disseminate science-based information and address misinformation. Dr. Offit is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of virology and immunology, and a leader in the global movement to reduce vaccine hesitancy.

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We are also partnering with the American College of Physicians (ACP) on a multi-part series for both physicians and patients that will address misinformation around vaccines and provide evidence-based, scientific information about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. ACP is a leader in providing vaccine education for adults and this content will build on ACP's ongoing vaccine education efforts. The videos will focus on supporting physicians and other healthcare professionals with effective communication strategies to build vaccine confidence and address concerns that are rooted in misinformation. ACP's videos will also educate the public about where to get trusted, credible information, and provide viewers with an opportunity to ask physicians vaccine questions as part of their Ask Your Internist Q&A series.

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These new partnerships build upon the library of authoritative and helpful resources for families and physicians around the world on YouTube, including Saúde da Infância, the channel from Pediatrics Hospital Sabará, Pensi Institute and Autism and Reality in Brazil, which launched a six-episode series focused on the importance of pediatric vaccination. In the videos, parents can learn more about why they should vaccinate their children, how to talk about that with kids, the vaccination calendar and other important and informative topics covered by health experts. In addition, they have produced animation videos explaining COVID and vaccines to parents and their kids. The NHS in England creates patient information videos to ensure that safe informative content is available to support people making vaccine decisions, which are shared on their channel. This includes parent information videos about vaccine safety in children, campaigns about annual flu vaccines, and COVID-19 specific videos such as vaccine development and safety, and helping to explain the COVID-19 vaccine to children.

All of this helpful content complements our efforts to raise up authoritative health sources about vaccines on our platform and remove vaccine misinformation. We recently announced an expansion of our medical misinformation policies to cover all currently administered vaccines that are approved and confirmed to be safe and effective by local health authorities and the WHO. We also announced in July that we have introduced new ways to help users more easily find and identify content from authoritative sources when seeking information on health topics and questions.

These new partnerships and features are just the latest step in our work to make science-based information about vaccines more accessible to users around the world, and we look forward to continuing to expand to more regions and more partners in the coming months.