Combating COVID-19 related fake news

Funded by: University of Oxford

Principal Investigator: Mary Chambers

Collaborators: Nguyen Thanh Ha, Tran Minh Hien, Summita Udas, Ragil Dien, Livia Nathania Kurniawan, Fahmi Ramadhan, Neharika Kharel, Katrina Lawson


Public health and wellbeing is put at risk by disinformation and fake news, and never more seriously than in times of public health emergencies such as the current Covid-19 pandemic. While traditional news from state and commercially owned broadcasting channels and newspapers remains a dominant source of scientific information, social media platforms have become important sources of health information and sites for public discourse. However, the health and science presented on these platforms are often problematic. We propose that a targeted and positive public engagement response delivering evidence-based news in partnership with policymakers and key public health stakeholders is a way to counter the dissemination of misinformation.


By tracking current disinformation and fake news stories about Covid-19 and the Covid-19 vaccines on social media in Viet Nam, Nepal and Indonesia – the host countries for Oxford University Clinical Research Units, we will identify misinformation that is circulating in these communities. Our findings will be fed back to national policymakers and public health stakeholders to enable them to tailor their Covid-19 related public health messaging. We will bring working groups together to develop evidence-based, locally appropriate public engagement media and open discussion forums to positively counter the trending misinformation, thereby increasing understanding, safe behaviour and public/expert trust.

Ouputs to date:

  • Workshops:
    • Media literacy workshops for young people – developing tools to recognise fake news on social media and online media (2020), Viet Nam
    • Science Against Fake News Workshop for high school students to equip with skills of analysis and evaluation of information on the Internet (2020), Viet Nam
  • Posters: “Myth buster” information about Covid19 (2020), Nepal
  • Leaflets:  Covid-19 information (2020), Nepal
  • Online discussions:
    • ‘The health of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers during the pandemic’. Instagram Livestream discussion (6 February 2022), Indonesia
  • Online engagement:
    • Social media: Facebook and Instagram animations and health education materials to counter identified misinformation content within the media about Covid19 and Covid19 vaccines. e.g. Myth busters (2020), Viet Nam, #Iamvaccinated campaign (2021), Viet Nam
    • Viber: Q & A of specific health information to community disseminated via community health worker Viber networks (2021), Nepal
    • Podcasts: Monthly podcast with medical and scientific experts providing accurate health information (November 2020 – current), Indonesia
  • Youtube videos:
    • Coping with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic’ (April 21, 2020), Indonesia. Available at:
    • How to quarantine F0 at home’ (August 10, 2021), Viet Nam. Available at:
    • Sharing personal experiences of Covid-19 pandemic – a medical worker (2021), Viet Nam. Available at:
    • Answering questions about the Covid-19 Vaccine with Dr. Truong Ngoc Trung (HTD) (May 2021), Viet Nam. Available at: