Francis Collins spoke at a Washington Post forum on trust in science

Dr. Francis Collins who was director of the National Institutes of Health from 2009 to 2021, cited Kathleen Hall Jamieson’s work on combatting COVID-19 misinformation in remarks this week at a Washington Post forum on trust in science.

Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and co-founder of, advocates proactively incorporating public health knowledge into fact-checking articles to arm the public with information it needs to recognize and reject false information.

Collins said of COVID-19, "If we’d had a better sense of how social media could so completely confuse all of this, we’d have done better at surveying that, sort of seeing when misinformation was coming up in a particular way and not being caught back on our heels. We might have even had an opportunity to do what you call ‘pre‑bunking,’ where you identify the most predictable, malicious lies and you get people ready for them, so that when you see somebody says there’s a chip in the syringe that Bill Gates put there, even before that’s gotten to be there, think about what that’s about. We could have done that.

“People who are experts in this ‑‑ I talked a lot to Kathleen Hall Jamieson at [the University of] Pennsylvania about science communication. She would say every single one of the most significant disinformation campaigns about COVID were predictable and could have therefore been pre‑bunked if we’d had a plan to do that.”

Here’s a Transcript of the Forum


This looks great! Thank you. Speaking of which, if you google, RSV has the same type of conspiracy theories out there now.


Really? Right now I’m taking part in a clinical trial for Moderna’s version of a RSV vax. I’m so glad I was accepted for the study–I was very disappointed when I didn’t get into the Pfizer trial for the Covid-19 vax. It was my high blood pressure that got me nixed. That just goes to show that they are very careful!


Great interview. Hum, mRNA vaccines for cancer. Going to keep an eye out for that.


I wish we had a hashtag for VACCINES

Randy, Will you point me to the biggest conspiracy theories for RSV? I should let the clinical trial people know about it. They might be too busy doing science to be aware of this .


Thank you for participating! It’s exciting stuff.

First I heard of it was from a conspiracy minded family member a few weeks ago. Theories range from inflating the numbers to create a market for the RSV vaccine, to creating a police state, to that people are more susceptible because of the Covid vaccine

Hospitals Are Full of Kids Sick With RSV—And Anti-Vaxxers Think It’s a Hoax – Mother Jones

RSV Surge in Children Likely Caused by ‘Immunity Gap,’ Not COVID-19 Vaccine -

Opinion: How conspiracy communities are using predictable tactics to spread falsehoods about RSV (

I am trying to keep a level head–I think that treating them like the enemy is falling into the same trap of fear as they have fallen into.



Thanks. I’ll let the clinical research place know. Maybe they already know.


The biggest problem facing scientists and doctors now is the abysmal handling of Covid by government over the last 2+ years (on-going). At least half the populace doesn’t trust them anymore. RSV feels to them like crying “Wolf!” And if Collins wants to get good information out there, he should avoid WaPo and factcheck. No one he needs to reach trusts either of those outlets.

They are improving

How did you get that number?

They should watch the news and they will see that ERs are filling up with children with RSV infections struggling to breathe. I’m taking part in a clinical trial for a RSV vax (Moderna). The trial is being conducted very carefully.

FactCheck is a great resource. I learned about it from my library.

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