ProjectsInternational Public Policy ObservatoryC-19 Misinformation
Misinformation in COVID-19: Strategies for policy makers to mitigate its effects

< Back to IPPO

Start Date: 1st April 2022

End Date: 12th December 2022 (Completed)

Misinformation about COVID-19 has proliferated in digital and physical environments throughout the pandemic, undermining public health efforts to tackle the virus. Developing effective ways to counter COVID-19 misinformation and its spread has therefore become a key challenge for policymakers, public health practitioners, and communications professionals. 

To identify, characterise and synthesise accumulating research knowledge about COVID-19 misinformation in order to provide stakeholders with evidence they need to help tackle the spread and impacts of misinformation in COVID-19 and future public health emergencies.

Key Components
This project had two components:

  1. Living evidence map: An evidence map comprising bibliographic records of published articles reporting empirical research studies on misinformation in COVID-19, organised by topic and other selected study characteristics. From May to December 2022, this map was continuously maintained as a 'living map'. In December 2022, we stopped maintaining this map and published a final archived version.
  2. Rapid evidence review: A rapid review of research evidence that aimed to address the following question: 

    For whom and/or under what circumstances is debunking misinformation about vaccines likely to be more effective than either providing accurate information only, or not responding, for: 

•    Reducing people’s vaccine-related misinformation beliefs; 
•    Changing people’s attitudes to vaccines; 
•    Reducing people’s vaccine hesitancy or resistance, or increasing their intentions to be vaccinated; and/or
•    Increasing people’s uptake of vaccines? 

In addition, what are the key gaps and uncertainties in current research evidence?

  Debunk, Inform, Avoid? Final Report (PDF)

Shemilt I, Hollands GJ, Stansfield C, Thomas J (2022). Debunk, Inform, Avoid? Debunking vaccine-related misinformation: a rapid evidence review. London: EPPI Centre, UCL Social Research Institute, UCL Institute of Education, University College London. 

ISBN: 978-1-911605-40-9

Published: 12th December 2022

Click here to explore an open-access web database of included studies, coded by their key characteristics.

Stakeholder Engagement
To inform the development of this project, we engaged with selected stakeholders in UK national or local government (including public health), or third-sector organisations, who told us about their experiences of tackling health-related and other misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This helped us to identify, formulate and refine a research question and methods for the rapid evidence review, and to refine key messages and implications for practice, policy and research, based on its findings.

This project was completed in December 2022. For enquiries about the work, please contact: Ian Shemilt, Associate Director, EPPI Centre, UCL ( 

< Back to IPPO

Copyright 2019 Social Science Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education :: Privacy Statement :: Terms Of Use :: Site Map :: Login
Home::About::Projects::Training::Research Use::Resources::Databases::Blog::Publications