Special Projects Fund


Public Good Projects

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund


October 1, 2020


Vaccine hesitancy and refusal is a major public health threat. Despite public health efforts, media-savvy organizations continue to spread vaccine misinformation to parents and the general public through anti-vaccination campaigns.

Vaccine opposition is a threat to global health, and social media is a primary source of misinformation and a means for organizing vaccine opposition. Misinformation erodes trust in science and public health authorities and is associated with a decrease in vaccination rates, which in turn increases the risk of further outbreaks and cases of vaccine-preventable disease.

NYHealth awarded the Public Good Projects a grant to create a media surveillance system, Project VCTR (Vaccine Communication Tracking and Response), to help public health officials and health care providers combat misinformation about vaccines. Based on the findings from this project, Public Good Projects published a report, “Content Themes and Influential Voices Within Vaccine Opposition on Twitter, 2019,” on vaccine opposition and misinformation promoted on Twitter, highlighting Twitter accounts that drive conversation. This study is part of the American Journal of Public Health’s special issue on tackling health misinformation.

Read the study here.

See a recording of a webinar featuring Dr. Joseph Smyser, President and CEO of Public Good Projects.

Read a Grantmakers in Health blog, co-authored by Senior Program Officer Brian Byrd and Dr. Joseph Smyser, on the impact of bots and misinformation on the coronavirus pandemic.

Read a related Project VCTR report, “Vaccine Hesitancy in Black & Latinx Communities.”