The Pandemic of Science in Society

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Júlia Demuner, a medical student at Universidade Vila Velha, Brazil. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Currently, there is a paradox between the production of scientific knowledge, forged in scientific centers and institutions, and the general view of those who receive scientific information via the mass media.

According to a Microsoft survey, social networks are the first source of information for 72% of the population in emerging countries. In this scenario, various institutions and social networks tend to take the place of the State in the dissemination of information and, thus, scientific dissemination becomes passive to corruption, since it can be shaped according to the political and personal interests of the media that disseminate it.

In a pandemic context, this situation becomes the trigger for the population’s hesitation in vaccinating COVID-19. As a result, even with the efforts of the scientific community to produce and disseminate content, articles and even supporting data regarding the effectiveness of vaccination campaigns, the credibility of this information continues to be shaken, culturally, by dissonant voices.

In this scenario, it is up to students and health professionals the role of supporting scientific communication through scientific dissemination. Scientific communication aims to spread information through research results and publication of articles among scientific peers (researchers/scientists). On the other hand, scientific dissemination, or popularization of science, aims to disseminate this same information to society in general.

With opinion increasingly taking the place of information, medical students need to be able to provide an informative approach that engages by sharing facts about the vaccine and that can elucidate questions about efficacy and safety, in addition to practical issues. regarding the stages, dates and places of immunization. The search for widespread adherence to the campaign requires a great communication effort, being necessary to include not only people from the scientific community itself, but also a wide range of spokespeople, such as artists, influencers and athletes who are seen as references for different social audiences.

Immunization is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions to date, saving an estimated 2 to 3 million lives each year, according to UNICEF data. However, the emergence of COVID-19 and the diverse global anti-vaccination movements threaten to reverse this progress, severely limiting access to vaccines that save thousands of lives. Therefore, in addition to scientific dissemination in the community, it is up to health professionals to warn the population of the seriousness and potential negative consequences of interruptions in immunization services, including the possible resurgence of outbreaks, such as measles.

Finally, it is known that the coexistence between scientific communication and mass communication is already a reality in society. Now, even if there are parallel communications between governments, companies and the press, the ideal is that these are aligned in favor of quality information for the population. Therefore, it is essential that a sum of efforts be made with the final objective of informing truthfully, regardless of the interest of each of the parties, so that communication and scientific dissemination can once again walk together in favor of global health.





About the author

Júlia Demuner is a medical student at Universidade Vila Velha, Brazil. Júlia constantly seeks a multidisciplinary training beyond the academic sphere, working in extension projects, entrepreneurship and in the production of books and articles that aim to promote the dissemination of scientific knowledge in the community.

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