Media Innovation Circle #13
July 22 @2pm-3pm (Lisbon Time)
Topic 1 – Meanings, emotions and disputes about Covid-19 immunization in online social networks
Speaker: Kátia Lerner, Researcher, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Moderation: Margarida Almeida, University of Aveiro
Topic 2 – Assessing the quality of health information on the Internet: Is there a solution to this problem?
Speaker: André Pereira Neto, Full Researcher, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Moderation: Margarida Almeida, University of Aveiro

Katia Lerner holds a BA in Sociology (PUC-RJ), an MA in Communication and Culture (ECO-UFRJ), a PhD in Sociology and Anthropology (IFCS-UFRJ), and a post-doctorate in Communication (ECO-UFRJ). She is a Researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Vice-Leader of the CNPq Research Group Communication and Health, and Associate Editor of Interface Journal. She coordinated the Graduate Program in Health Information and Communication (PPGICS/ICICT/FIOCRUZ) between 2016 and 2018, in which she is a permanent faculty member, and the GP Communication, Scientific Dissemination, Health and Environment of Intercom between 2017 and 2020. Among other works, she organized the collection “Saúde e Jornalismo: interfaces contemporâneas” (Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Fiocruz, 2014, co-authored by Igor Sacramento) and “Meio Ambiente, Saúde e Divulgação Científica: questões comunicacionais” (São Caetano do Sul: USCS/Intercom, 2020, co-authored by Arquimedes Pessoni).


This talk presents partial results of the project “Covid-19 in the media: who to trust? Narratives, actors and controversies about the pandemic”, whose objective is to understand the arguments and the bases of support of the main controversies related to sanitary measures for the confrontation of Covid-19, aiming at the improvement of public communication strategies to increase knowledge and confidence in the measures for prevention and control of the disease. In this opportunity, the discourses antagonistic to the immunization against Covid-19 that circulated in online social networks will be addressed, investigating arguments, meanings, and emotions mobilized. In the initial moment of the pandemic, facing uncertainties about the disease and a communication scenario of increasing complexity, we observed a plurality of enunciation marked by disputes, in which counter epistemic communities adopted multiple contestatory forms of knowledge that competed for attention, legitimacy and power of the public on digital platforms. Among the tensioned themes, the adoption of the vaccine as a public policy, its risks and benefits, emerged showing its symbolic force as a vector of hope and/or threat. It was observed that the positioning against the vaccine was not related to the immunization itself, but against a specific vaccine, Covid-19. Three axes of argumentation were identified: the fear aroused by the risks involved; the defense of freedom of choice; and the questioning of the reliability (followed by moral disqualification) of the authorities who defended it. The clash aroused fear, indignation, and doubt, but it also provoked the construction of other bonds of trust and solidarity, strengthening certain social segments and revealing the prevailing moralities.

André Pereira Neto is a PhD in Collective Health from the Rio de Janeiro State University (1997) and a Post-Doctorate in Sociology of Health from the University of California, San Francisco (2006). He is a Full Researcher at the National School of Public Health (ENSP) where he coordinates the Internet, Health and Society Laboratory (LAISS) associated to the Germano Sinval de Faria School Health Centre (CSEGSF). He is an Accredited Professor of the Graduate Program in Health Information and Communication (PPGICS) offered by the Institute of Communication and Scientific and Technological Information in Health (ICICT) of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation since 2010.
He develops research on the impact of the Internet on the doctor-patient relationship, virtual communities and information quality assessment in health websites. He edited with Matthew Flynn the book “The Internet and Health in Brazil: Challenges and Trends”, published by Springer in 2020. More details at:


The Internet allows access to an immeasurable number of information that is produced and disseminated at every moment. Health emerges as one of the main areas of interest of users. Frequently this information is incorrect, outdated or incomprehensible. This is why it can be harmful to health.
This talk will present a method for evaluating the quality of information from health websites based on systematic reviews. This method was adopted in the evaluation of information from government websites of Dengue, Tuberculosis, Breastfeeding, COVID-19 and Leishmaniasis.
The results indicate that none of them obtained more than 60% compliance according to the criteria and indicators used.
This work proposes that the theme of assessing the quality of information on health websites becomes part of the research agenda of funding agencies, academic institutions, researchers and policy makers interested in creating an alternative to combat fake news.