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Tackling misinformation: Working Together to Build Global Vaccine Confidence and Support an Inclusive Recovery


On 10 February 2021, the OECD held the virtual Tackling Misinformation event, hosted by the UK Government, as part of an effort to identify and develop good practice principles on government communication responses to misinformation. This event brought together more than 300 participants, comprising primarily government officials from around 50 countries. It also served as the occasion to convene the OECD Experts Group on Public Communication, as well as welcome the participation of representatives from other key formal and informal OECD bodies.

Governments are operating in a new and rapidly changing information environment where the spread of misinformation can strongly influence people’s behavior, as well as reduce trust and confidence in official institutions and policies. Through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic, this event explored how misinformation is undermining public support for vaccines, posing a severe risk to acceptance and uptake. It also looked at how public communicators and other key actors are rising to this challenge. 
The event showcased how effective public communication can build vaccine confidence, as well as how the development of OECD good practice principles can be used to guide misinformation responses. In interventions and interactive discussions, participants expressed support for the principles and interest in contributing collaboratively to their development.


The Tackling Misinformation event took place in two parts:

Part 1

Speakers discussed about misinformation trends and the innovative actions public communicators are taking to tackle this issue. The first part of the event included interventions from the following speakers:

  • Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia
  • Elsa Pilichowski, Director of the Public Governance Directorate, OECD
  • Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for Business and Industry and Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, Department of Health and Social Care, UK Government
  • Professor Heidi Larson, Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Dr Sander van der Linden, Professor of Social Psychology in Society, University of Cambridge
  • Elena Savoia, Deputy Director of the Emergency Preparedness, Research, Evaluation & Practice Program (EPREP), Harvard University
  • Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, United Nations
  • Rodney Ghali, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet of the Impact and Innovation Unit, Privy Council, Canada
  • James Sorene, Deputy Director, COVID-19 Vaccines Communications, Department for Health and Social Care, UK Government
  • Tim Chatwin, VP Communications and Public Affairs, Google EMEA
  • Alex Aiken, Executive Director of Government Communication Service, UK Government


Part 2

The session included breakout groups that encouraged substantive and active discussions on key themes. Participants reflected and shared ideas on how governments can utilize their expertise in addressing misinformation and engage in the development of OECD good practice principles. This part of the event included remarks from the following speakers:

  • Katju Holkeri, Chair of the OECD Working Party on Open Government
  • Michael Nathan, Director of the Government Information Service, France
  • Vincenzo Le Voci, Secretary-General of the Club of Venice
  • Stephen Ivie, Head of Campaigns, HMG Russia Unit, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UK
  • Jussi Toivanen, Chief Communications Specialist (StratCom and Crisis Communications), Government Communications, Prime Minister’s Office, Finland
  • Dr. Bruno Monteiro, Coordinator, Experimentation Lab for Public Administration, Administrative Modernisation Agency, Portugal
  • Aura María Cifuentes Gallo, Digital Government Director, Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications, Colombia
  • Alessandro Bellantoni, Head of the Open Government Unit, OECD
  • Gerald Mullally, Deputy Director of Communications at the Cabinet Office and Head of the UK Government Communication Service International (GCSI), United Kingdom


For any enquiries about this event and the OECD work on public communication, misinformation and media ecosystems, please contact



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