In Partnership With YouTube, ACP Addresses Vaccines, COVID-19 Misinformation

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Series of YouTube videos feature internists discussing the public's top vaccine-related questions

Jan. 7, 2022 (ACP) — The American College of Physicians has launched a unique partnership with YouTube to promote the benefits of vaccines and counter misinformation around COVID-19 with messages from internists, who patients often trust and know the best.

ACP and YouTube have released two new video series focused on COVID-19 and vaccine education: “Ask Your Internist,” featuring physicians who answer the public's top vaccine-related questions, and “Physician to Physician Conversations,” which shares practical strategies for physicians to address vaccine and health misinformation with patients. Several of the episodes will also be offered in Spanish.

The first episodes of each of these series can be viewed on the ACP YouTube channel, and new videos will be uploaded to the ACP YouTube channel throughout the next few months. All videos are fewer than five minutes long and feature music and attractive graphics.

The most popular “Ask Your Internist” video - “Why Trust COVID-19 Vaccines?” - has been watched more than 27,000 times. It features Dr. Frances Ferguson, of Albany, Georgia, an internist and ACP member, who discusses her personal journey to trusting the COVID-19 vaccines. She concludes, “We have something that works. Be a hero. Take a vaccine.”

ACP has expressed its concern about the spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 virus, vaccination and treatments and the detrimental impact on public health. ACP strongly supports the use of science and scientific expertise, based on the best available evidence, in the fight against COVID-19. The spread of inaccurate and incorrect information about COVID-19 hinders the ability to mitigate the spread of the virus and combat the global public health crisis.

“ACP's goals are to increase adult vaccination rates and to help clinicians constructively address medical misinformation at the point of care,” said Dr. Cynthia “Daisy” Smith, ACP vice president for clinical education. “Secondary goals are to support clinician well-being by providing efficient and effective approaches to current communications challenges, improve public awareness of the importance of internal medicine and increase the reach/impact of ACP in the medical community.”

Other episodes in the “Ask Your Internist” series include “Flu Vaccines: What You Need To Know,” “Why Do We Need COVID-19 Boosters?”, “Can You Get Sick from COVID-19 Vaccines?” and “Respondiendo a Tus Preguntas Sobre La Vacuna Contra La Gripe” (“Answering Your Questions About the Flu Vaccine”).

YouTube strongly supports the series. “As a long-standing Fellow of the ACP, I believe in the power of the ACP to bring these important messages about vaccines to life for physicians, patients and caregivers,” said Dr. Garth Graham, director and global head of healthcare and public health partnerships at YouTube. “I know how much the physician's voice matters to patients when they are making decisions about their healthcare, and I'm so glad to have them as a partner for this initiative to connect people with helpful, credible information on YouTube.”

According to Smith, “these videos are being promoted through ACP's usual communications channels, including emails to members and social media, as they are released. In addition, some of our videos focused on COVID-19 vaccines have been selected to be spotlighted on the YouTube platform. We expect to exceed 150,000 views but hope to reach even more viewers with social media dissemination support from ACP members.”

Going forward, ACP plans to optimize and update the ACP YouTube channel to more proactively support the next generation of physicians and address their preference for more video learning. For now, Smith urged ACP members to watch the videos, share them with patients and colleagues, click “like” and subscribe to the ACP YouTube channel so they will be notified when a new video is available.

“The ‘Ask Your Internist’ videos feature physicians answering the public's most commonly asked questions about vaccinations and how to find reliable health information on the internet. The ‘Physician to Physician Conversations' videos rely on evidence-based communication strategies that will increase vaccination rates and improve efficiency and may be used as a collection to teach communications skills to students and residents,” Smith said.

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