The Children’s Minister has hit out at online misinformation about Ireland’s vaccine rollout.
Roderic O’Gorman today helped to re-launch youth information website SpunOut.ie.
Speaking at the event, he said the site is crucial in fighting false information circulating on social media.
“We’re well aware of the inaccurate information that is often promoted online,” he said.
“We’re seeing it in the context of the rollout of vaccines and the wider restrictions to deal with the Covid crisis, but we see it in so many areas - racist content, anti LGBTI+ content as well.
“So, the fact that SpunOut is so dedicated to challenging inaccurate information is really important.”
Online misinformation has been cited as one of the causes of vaccine hesitancy in nations such as Romania, which recently agreed a deal to sell Ireland one million unwanted COVID vaccines.
Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO Health Emergencies program, has warned that a “vaccine against misinformation” is needed amid the global push to vaccinate as many people as possible.
Ireland’s uptake of vaccines is among the highest in the world - with the vast majority of people over the age of 70 having received at least one dose of a vaccine so far.
It comes as SpunOut relaunches its brand and website. SpunOut Director Kiki Martire said fighting misinformation and ensuring young people are well-informed will be a key focus of the site.
The organisation also today launched its impact report for 2020.
This found that mental health, sex and self-harm were the three biggest issues for young people in the past year.
The most read factsheet on the site in 2020 was “the effects of social media on mental health,” with almost 90,000 readers.
This was followed by “what to do if your partner doesn't want to have sex” and “how to care for self-harm wounds.”