Letter: How can society move forward when ignorance is practiced more than education?

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Syringes for Utah County residents to get their COVID-19 vaccinations in a former Shopko store in Spanish Fork, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021.

I have studied and researched the pro-vaccine/anti-vaccine debate extensively. I have heard constantly growing up from both sides, that their side of the argument is correct and the other is wrong. Because of this polarization of opinions, I have noticed that it is often a roadblock in fostering understanding and discussion between two different perspectives. How can society move forward when ignorance is practiced more than education?

From my research on attitudes towards vaccines, I have learned that the issues between these two differing perspectives are mainly caused by sources of misinformation, communication issues, poor education on public health issues, and lack of unifying efforts in furthering scientific knowledge. Whatever side of the argument someone may be on, I believe that if we work towards improving these things in society, we can overcome ignorance and foster a culture of true understanding, even if opinions remain unchanged.

Misinformation floods society in many forms and I think that we can do a better job at educating individuals on what a source’s true intentions are, and if their information is valid. Communication between public health officials, care providers, and the general public needs to improve. Improving communication will cultivate a relationship of trust and understanding. This in turn will also improve education on public health matters. It will provide a mold for how society can move forward in order to better educate the commonwealth. As we combine our efforts to further scientific knowledge, we can overcome the barrier of ignorance, and work towards a society where issues can easily be resolved. This is much better than simply trying to decide between who is right and who is wrong.

Isaac Forbush, Provo

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