HHS Gives $1M to Researchers to Predict Vaccine Misinformation


By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is giving $1 million to researchers who can predict what misinformation about vaccines might be spread on social media and how it can impact people’s trust in vaccines.

The grant opportunity, “Developing a Public Health Tool to Predict the Virality of Vaccine Misinformation Narratives,” will go to a single applicant to predict how “vaccine misinformation” can affect people’s trust in vaccines, Fox News reported.

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The purpose of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant is “to develop a predictive forecasting model that identifies new or reemerging misinformation narratives that are likely to disseminate widely and have a high potential for impact on vaccine confidence.”

Further explained in Fox News, “The information from this model will then be used to develop a tool that public health agencies could use to predict misinformation trends in the populations served.”

Rep. Chip Roy, R.-Texas, pushed back, telling Fox News, “It’s dangerous for a health agency to focus its resources on combating misinformation. The CDC has no business trying to predict future ‘thought crimes’ nor, as they’ve done in the past, leverage their power to collude with big tech companies against the American people.”

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The CDC has a history of trying to combat what it deemed “misinformation,” including coordinating with Facebook, Twitter, and Google to counter online content it deemed to be misinformation.

This also comes after the Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board ended in May after just three weeks.

The board “was doomed from the moment it was named,” said Forbes columnist Jill Goldenziel, a professor the U.S. National Defense University-College of Information and Cyberspace and a consultant on business threat, security, law and leadership. “The name itself suggests illegal government activity that the American people would never tolerate, regardless of their partisan affiliation.”

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“This latest revelation proves the CDC is rolling full steam ahead with their censorship campaign against citizens who speak up,” Roy said to Fox News. “This new scheme to use taxpayer money – intended to further scientific inquiry – to instead stifle researchers and anyone who dares dissent from the Biden administration’s ever-changing COVID narrative is unsurprising and unacceptable.”

It’s not clear how the model will determine what constitutes “misinformation.”

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