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Annenberg Public Policy Center on Oct. 19, 2021.

Credit: Riley Guggenhime

The Annenberg Public Policy Center has partnered with Penn’s Center for Public Health Initiatives to create a COVID-19 Treatment and Prevention guide which aims to mitigate the spread of virus misinformation.

The guide includes information about COVID-19 risks and treatment options, as well as statistics about the effectiveness of vaccines and masks. It will be provided in Center for Public Health Initiatives and Penn Medicine clinics so that people who have just been vaccinated can share the information with their vaccine-hesitant family members and friends, according to Annenberg Public Policy Center director Kathleen Hall Jamieson.

Annenberg Public Policy Center Program Manager Emily Paterson said that because misinformation is common, it's important to have one place addressing all of the virus disinformation that the Annenberg Public Policy Center works to correct.

"We decided there was a need to develop a compact piece of material, a go-to brochure, that would bring together this information in one place," Paterson said.

Jamieson told Annenberg Public Policy Center that the guide is part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center's community outreach — research with a local impact that aims to increase vaccination rates in Philadelphia. 

According to Annenberg Public Policy Center, the guide corrects several COVID-19 misconceptions — including supposed cures such as ivermectin that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and the idea that the vaccine is not safe for pregnant women.

She added in the press release that many of the strategies used in the brochure, such as misinformation-correction and preemption, were developed through the Annenberg Public Policy Center SciCheck COVID-19/Vaccination Project

For the fall 2021 semester, Penn required all students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before coming to campus, with only limited exceptions for medical and religious reasons. Currently, 99% of undergraduate students are vaccinated.