Many of you - PCC clients, Pediatric Supergroup attendees, PMI attendees, Children's National attendees, more - have heard Dr. Todd Wolynn or his partner Chad Hermann speak about their experience being attacked via social media by a semi-organized gang of anti-vaxxers. "Six Days in September: Behind the Lines of a Social Media Anti-Vax Attack" is a riveting presentation that has led
Dr. Wolynn and his crew to work on creating a "rescue network" and toolkit for practices who are challenged by personal, unfounded attacks on social media (and beyond). For that rescue network to work, they need more people to join.
Rather than have me blab on about it, here it is in his words:
Shots Heard Round the World – a vetted, rapid response, private, pro-Vaccine, social media rescue network created to come to the aid of healthcare providers/practices experiencing a large-scale anti-vaccine social media attack. Here’s the background story:
I’m incredibly fortunate to be co-owner and CEO of Kids Plus Pediatrics , a proudly independent pediatric practice in Pittsburgh, PA. We have ~20 providers, take all insurances (including CHIP & Medicaid), and are a level 3 NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home. We boast several areas of expertise — two of which are relevant to this message: Immunizations & Communication.
KPP is proud to have an incredible Communications Director, an in-house production studio, and a wealth of Immunization expertise and experience. In late 2017, seeing that the HPV was being underutilized by health care providers and patients alike, we drafted, videoed, edited, and produced a 90-second HPV PSA: We Prevent Cancer.
We, our families, and our followers were thrilled with the result, but… to cut to the chase… the video led to a global, coordinated anti-vaccine attack against us on social media. Over 850 individual attackers posted >10,000 to our Facebook page, attacked our Facebook, Google, and Yelp ratings, and even planned and attempted other damages – all because we had the audacity to promote the HPV vaccine as cancer prevention.
Here is a brief summary of the story, videoed at a Global Vaccine Conference at the Mérieux Foundation.
While we certainly did not choose to be targeted, we did decide to use the experience for good.
We took a stand and fought back using science, advocacy and innovation.
We used the attack as the subject of an observational study, collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. A poster presentation on the study will be presented at the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine in Washington D.C. in March 2019. Additional collaboration is ongoing.
We were one of the first victims in a growing wave of increasingly aggressive social media attacks with the expressed intent to scare, terrorize and harm pro-vaccine pediatric practices and providers. We’ve interviewed pediatricians from across the country, and they shared similar stories of receiving slurs, dishonest/damaging reviews, and even death threats. As a result, we created 3 Goals (below) for ourselves to help support and advocate for pediatric practices and providers to promote best practices – including immunizations – by preparing, supporting and representing them in a world where anti-science social media attacks are now commonplace.
At KPP we love to innovate! Facing this challenge to public health and the well-being of children, we set 3 Goals:
Create a Social Media Strategy Guide & Anti-Vaccine Combat Toolkit to help Prepare, Defend Against and Clean Up after an anti-vaccine social media attack.
Create Shots Heard Round the World - a Vetted, Rapid Response, Private, Pro-Vaccine, Social Media Rescue Network to come to the aid of healthcare providers/practices experiencing a large-scale anti-vaccine social media attack. [more info below]
Represent health care providers who’ve been attacked or intimidated by the anti-vaccine movement to help social media platforms (Facebook, Google, YouTube etc.) understand their role and how they can improve.
Shots Heard Round the World: 2/19/19
Shots Heard Round the World is our private, vetted, rapid-response, pro-vaccine, social media rescue network of pro-science advocates who will be notified when their help is needed to come to the aid of health care providers/practices experiencing a large-scale anti-vaccine social media attack.
While communication science and research is evolving, there are strong anecdotal examples of the power of pro-science, pro-vaccine input (posts, tweets, etc) coming in large volume in the midst of an anti-vaccine social media attack. They help to repel the anti-vaccine attackers.
Through our work with Shots Heard, we plan continue our interviews of anti-vaccine social media attacks victims, as well as to continue monitor, track, and recording the attacks.
Our web domain is currently reserved, and a Website landing page is in place at: www.ShotsHeard.com
To join, we ask pro-vaccine health advocates to email at:
Todd Wolynn MD, MMM, IBCLC