People who would turn down coronavirus jab – as they fear what’s in it

0

It is the hope we believed everyone was clinging to… the day when a vaccine would bring back normal life.

And as scientists rush to develop one in record time to defeat the virus, surely we all wish it will arrive sooner rather than later.

But that is far from the case.

A YouGov poll for the Center for Countering Digital Hate, found almost a third of Brits might refuse to take a vaccine against Covid-19.

Of, 663 respondents, 6% said they would definitely not get vaccinated, while 10% said they would “probably not”. Another 15% said they weren’t certain.

The survey has alarmed scientists, who know if a large numbers aren’t vaccinated, the virus will continue to spread.

But it also shows how our modern world can facilitate the spread of lies and misinformation.

So called anti-vaxxers, a small but vocal group who don’t believe in vaccinations of any kind, have long tried to push their views into the mainstream, often using social media networks to spread fear.

Last year false scare stories about childhood vaccines were blamed for the UK registering more than 200 cases of measles, just three years after the World Health Organisation declared the country measles-free.

And now anti-vaxxers appear to have taken advantage of heightened anxieties during the pandemic to disseminate fake news and conspiracy theories.

And with people increasingly reliant on social media as sources of information, many false claims about Covid-19 took hold.

According the CCDH, since the start of the pandemic 7.7million more people in the US and UK have followed anti-vaccine pages and channels on social media.

One video, entitled Plandemic, which claims the Covid-19 crisis was a Government set-up, has been viewed millions of times.

Another post, claiming vaccines contain the same toxic chemicals as the substances used for lethal injections, warned: “The same chemical that is used to stop the heart of inmates on DEATH ROW is also in these vaccines.”

And in April the Government was forced to deny claims circulating widely online that the first volunteer in a human trial of a UK coronavirus vaccine had died.

The stories about Elisa Granato were shared by several websites purporting to be news outfits. She updated her Twitter profile to explain she was “100% alive”.

Other posts doing the rounds claimed the vaccine would inject you with an electronic chip, allegations that billionaires like Bill Gates were making us ill for profit.

Other pseudoscientific studies claim vaccines will put children in grave danger.

The terrifying result is that more and more people are turning against the very thing in they should put their hopes in.

During protests in major cities against lockdown, many held placards decrying a vaccine, and even high-profile “influencers” and celebs have expressed concerns.

In a Facebook live session, tennis player Novak Djokovic said: “I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel.”

Singer MIA tweeted “If I have to choose the vaccine or chip I’m gonna choose death.” The experts say anti-vaxxers are playing with people’s lives.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director of the World Health Organisation, said: “At WHO, we’re not just battling the virus; we’re also battling the trolls and conspiracy theorists that push misinformation and undermine the outbreak response.”

Mike Tildesley, an expert in mathematical modelling of infectious diseases and one of the Government’s SAGE group, believes lies propagated by anti-vaxxers could jeopardise the UK’s chance of eradicating coronavirus.

He said: “A coronavirus vaccine can be used to achieve herd immunity. At least 70% (of the population) will need to be immune in order for it to be achieved.

“Therefore it is crucial as many as possible get vaccinated once a viable, safe vaccine is available.”

So why are people giving more credence to anti-vaxxer posts?

Dr Charles Kriel, a special advisor to the DCMS select committee on fake news says: “In a social media environment people tend to believe their friends and family more than institutional sources for information.

“We’ve spent the last 50 years in the West critiquing our own institutions to the point where we’ve brought trust down, and social media makes this worse.”

He also pointed to “malicious actors who are trying to amplify these messages, because they add to the destabilisation of society.

“We know that Putin and the Kremlin’s online operations to increase division throughout society have increased considerably during the coronavirus.

“Discouraging people from vaccinations, getting people to distrust their institutions and governments weakens us, which only strengthens them.”

Gianfranco Polizzi, researcher at the LSE’s Department of Media and Communications, agrees, saying we must combat the anti-vax movement.

He said: “We need to ensure that digital literacy is firmly embedded in the school curriculum. And we need to find ways to reach adults, raise awareness about the internet and about what users can do to spot misinformation.”

He added that “digital platforms have a responsibility to demote and remove misinformation subject to independent fact-checking, which is why regulatory measures might be necessary.”

CCDH boss Imran Ahmed stressed: “There is no justification for publishing lies and conspiracy theories about vaccines.”

Share.

About Author

Leave A Reply