Recognize a reliable source of information

There are many sources of information on health: websites, television shows, magazines, news media, social media such as Facebook, etc.

However, credible sources of information are sometimes lost in a flurry of sources that do not have any recognized scientific basis and may even contain misleading information.

You can find trustworthy information on health problems, prevention advice and vaccination by keeping in mind that a reliable source does the following:

  • Clearly articulates its mission and purpose
  • Offers current information based upon serious scientific data approved by recognized organizations and experts
  • Indicates the groups or organizations financing it as well as their contact information, where applicable

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to find out if a source of information is reliable:

  • What is the mission and purpose of the source of information?
    • Does it aim to inform the public?
    • Does it support a personal cause or a specific group?
    • Is it selling products or documents?
  • What is the basis of the information given?
    • Is it personal testimonials or opinions?
    • Is the information based on serious scientific data approved by recognized organizations in the field?
  • What is the source of information’s competency in health issues?
    • Is it someone with recognized medical training?
    • Is it a health organization recognized in the health field?
    • Is the person a member of recognized associations of health professionals, doctors, nurses or scientists?
      Some writers are merely presented as eminent "specialists", internationally recognized researchers or renowned scientists. If there is no further mention of their training or their membership of a recognized organization, be wary of the information
  • Is the information current?
    • Does it refer to current data?

Consult reliable websites

The following links are reliable websites for information on health and vaccination:

Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ)

Gouvernement du Canada

Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS)

Immunize Canada

Other countries

World Health Organization (WHO)

A complementary video is available on this subject: video on reliable information on vaccination (in French only).

Identify anti-vaccination websites

Anti-vaccination sites share many characteristics:

  • The source of the information on the site is not clearly indicated and it does not come from recognized organizations and experts.
  • They make statements about vaccines that have not been scientifically proven. They even go so far as to deny or reject the scientific evidence.
  • They propose new theories on the possible side effects of vaccines.
  • They try to silence critics by insulting their detractors or threatening them with legal action.
  • They provide links to other anti-vaccination sites.
  • They promote alternative medicine, such as homeopathy, naturopathy and chiropractic, which they believe is superior to vaccination.
  • Over half of their site is devoted to stories about damage alleged to have been caused by vaccines. Most of these stories are related by parents. Sometimes they even make associations between the evidence and these stories without any evidence of a scientifically proven association.
  • They suggest that vaccine manufacturers or governments cover up the possible side effects of vaccines in order to promote acceptance of vaccination and to generate enormous profits for pharmaceutical companies.