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Letter: Misleading headline resembled tabloid-style clickbait

Letter: Misleading headline resembled tabloid-style clickbait

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St. Louis County Mass Vaccination

A nurse draws the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine into a syringe for use at the St. Louis County Mass Vaccination Clinic held at the North County Recreation Center on March 6, 2021. The clinic administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for anyone getting their initial shot, and the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for those getting their second dose. Photo by Sara Diggins, sdiggins@post-dispatch.com

Regarding “71 in St. Louis County test positive for COVID-19 after full vaccination” (April 20): In my opinion, the headline and presentation of this story was staggeringly irresponsible. It was sensationalistic journalism during a time when the public needs lucid presentations of the facts, which happen to be that all three coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective.

While it is true that 71 in St. Louis County had tested positive for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, one would have needed to read well past the page jump to find that number represents just 0.03% of those who are fully vaccinated. While experts urge caution, such cases were in line with their expectations and basic understanding of vaccine science. I believe this headline intentionally screams for anti-vaccination panic, which runs directly counter to the very data presented in the story and the larger fight against the virus.

If we are to curb this pandemic, protect our families, and restore normalcy, we must win a very real uphill battle against vaccine hesitancy, fueled jointly by substantive safety concerns and rampant misinformation. In response to both, we need responsible, science-driven journalism that supplies us with the information we need to make safe decisions for ourselves and our families.

I think the Post-Dispatch failed to provide that journalism with this story’s headline. Save the clickbait for the tabloids.

Ryan Bueckendorf • Wildwood

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