Doctors bring the fight to anti-vaxxers online

One group, Shots Heard Round The World, has 900 vetted global volunteers — including many doctors — who it taps to post supportive messages when vaccine advocates’ posts are targeted, said co-founder Todd Wolynn. Health care workers can report anti-vaccine activity through a link on the group’s homepage, which is monitored at all hours.

The group, part of a nonprofit that’s helping Kaiser Permanente and other health systems encourage Covid-19 shots, has shared a detailed playbook for handling anti-vaccination activists that it’s developed after years of promoting vaccines for HPV, flu and diseases. Among their top guidelines for someone facing an online attack: Don’t engage with the trolls.

The core group of doctors who thought up the #ThisIsOurShot campaign has maintained a 100-member Slack channel and weekly Zoom calls where they share intel about posts targeted by anti-vaccine forces. The group, which began as a grassroots social media campaign among members of the California Medical Association, has hired a full-time staffer to raise awareness.