Opinion – Julio Abramczyk: Non-Covid vaccination and misinformation cost $1 billion a day in the US

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It seems to be pretty hard to convince people about things that don’t exist, but sometimes it’s possible.

In the United States, misinformation about Covid-19 vaccine and non-vaccination has an estimated cost of $1 billion a day. And these values ​​are conservative, according to Professor Richard Bruns and collaborators at the Health Safety Center at Johns Hopkins University/Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA, responsible for the estimate.

The number is based on costs of hospitalization, treatment of Covid sequelae and assessment of lost lives. The estimate still concerns relatively low transmission rates during the months of June and July this year.

“The harms of non-vaccination and the costs associated with misinformation were much greater during the delta wave,” the researchers say.

Misinformation accounts for between 5% and 30% of the US$ 1 billion, that is, from US$ 50 million to US$ 300 million in daily costs since May 2021, when vaccines against Covid were already widely and free of charge available to most US adults, the researchers note.

According to Bruns and colleagues, false or misleading health-related and deliberately propagated information can dangerously harm the response to a public health crisis.

In Brazil, last week, after President Jair Bolsonaro (no party) said in his live that “vaccinated [contra a Covid] are developing the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [Aids]”, Google searches grew 3,000% for “Aids” and 1,500% for “HIV” compared to the previous 48 hours.

This misinformation, explain public health experts, has contributed to reducing the trust of physicians in actions designed to contain the transmission of the disease and especially the loss of human life.

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