These young doctors want to allay your concerns about the Covid-19 vaccines


Interestingly, most of the Docere team, who got together mostly based on word of mouth, have never even met in person. — Docere

Worried about the large information gap between healthcare professionals and the public, brothers Dr Jared Siow, 26, and Dr Siow Yu, 25, decided to start a group called Docere a few months ago.

Consisting of a mix of like-minded young doctors and other professionals, Docere – a Latin word that means "to teach" – aims to be that group of friendly neighbourhood doctors ready to empower you with health information, debunk myths and misconceptions, and help you understand your body.

Although the idea for the group has been germinating since the brothers' third year of medical school, it was the Covid-19 pandemic that pushed them into action.

Says Dr Jared, who is currently awaiting his housemanship placement: "In 2020, with the ravaging pandemic and the overwhelmingly large amount of Covid-19 misinformation campaigns floated around by laymen with different agendas, we finally launched on Dec 14.

"The pandemic was the trigger that prompted us to seriously consider the impact we could make to ease peoples’ lives by simply being an objective voice out there, addressing some concerns and clarifying some misbeliefs."

Based on Facebook and Instagram, the group produces graphics and videos addressing various health topics.

Dr Jared explains: "After identifying the myths and questions we want to tackle, it's very much just poring through data and studies, finding out the latest updates on them.

"Then condensing the information into bite-sized explanations that the public can understand."

He adds: "It is an everyday learning experience.

"We try to gauge what the public wants to learn about, with Covid-19 and vaccines obviously being on the forefront now.

"There are certain topics our team feels strongly about that we try to shed light on and raise awareness about, for instance, mental health and sexual health.

"Other than that, there is really no magic formula, it is a constant trial-and-error process.

"That’s why we always try to engage the audience on what they want to talk about!"

The group recently launched a campaign against Covid-19 vaccine misinformation.

Aware that their perspective might be biased as healthcare professionals, the team made the effort to understand the worries fuelling the spread of such misinformation.

"To break that echo chamber, we plunged ourselves into the deep end, joining anti-vaxxer groups on various social media platforms and hearing their concerns firsthand.

"On top of that, we also focused on specific concerns the local population has raised on multiple occasions, for instance, if the vaccine is halal," says Dr Jared.

StarHealth is partnering with Docere to show some of the videos they have produced for this campaign.

A new video will be uploaded every day at our webpage from today (March 8, 2021) until Sunday (March 14, 2021).

Today's video features Dr Yu, a first-year houseman (formally known as a foundation doctor) at the Hull Royal Infirmary in the United Kingdom, who addresses the concerns surrounding the relatively short development time of the vaccines.

For more information, email starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information in this video was accurate at the time of its recording. Due to the fluid nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original recording date. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this video. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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