Health experts say that at least 70 percent of the country needs to be vaccinated to ensure herd immunity and completely eradicate the epidemic that killed more than 300,000 Americans. National polls show a growing number of Americans are willing to get a coronavirus vaccine, but some populations, especially Black and Latinos, are reticent. Federal officials are releasing a 95 percent effective vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, and on Friday the Food and Drug Administration cleared a second vaccine from Moderna that was almost equally effective in preventing COVID-19 cases. Some people have quoted what the Trump administration calls politicizing a vaccine, despite officials’ denial that policy plays a role in rapid development.
These groups have been reinforced by the coronavirus epidemic, which both eroded trust in traditional institutions and left millions of people with few options for social interaction beyond the internet. Paul Barrett, deputy director of the Stern Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University, told The Hill that the biggest source of coronavirus vaccine disinformation is “the transformation of long-standing anti-vaccine activists. “There is a considerable foundation that existed before anyone heard of COVID-19,” he explained. The same mistrust in institutions that have revived anti-vaccination communities has also led thousands to conspiracy theories.
QAnon, whose followers believe President Trump is trying to expose a dark elite group running child sex trafficking gangs in the media and government, has had a clear benefit of shifting towards this conspiratorial notion. The growth of QAnon may make it difficult to achieve herd immunity as its supporters increase the lies about COVID-19 vaccines, as it is applied with a microchip to control and monitor citizens or Bill Gates is responsible for the coronavirus. “These conspiracy theories are wrong, but I am very concerned that they could enter the mainstream. And if we have people who will not be vaccinated, this makes it much more difficult for us to achieve herd immunity through vaccination and therefore end the epidemic, ”said Leana Wen.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey revealed that 42 percent of Republicans would likely not be or definitely would not be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Vice President Pence and his wife Karen were vaccinated live on television Friday in an attempt to bridge the partisan gap. “Today there are millions of Americans whose most trusted envoy is President Trump. And that’s why it’s really important for President Trump to speak to correct misinformation, ”Wen said.
Trump has repeatedly raised doubts about the seriousness of the epidemic and mocked his use of masks to limit its spread. According to a report from Cornell University, 38 percent of all articles published in January that contained misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak, lawmakers in Congress supporting Trump also said things that could deter vaccine use. Ken Buck said in a Fox Business interview Friday morning that he would not receive the vaccine because he was “more concerned with the illness about the side effects of the vaccine”.
His office later announced that Buck believes people at risk should “get the vaccine immediately”. Right-wing media has also been the driving force of coronavirus misinformation. Beyond restricting current coronavirus misinformation, Barrett said platforms should work to increase information about vaccines from trusted sources. Still, healthcare professionals said tech companies can only go so far.
Health officials, social media scramble to fight vaccine misinformation. https://thehill.com/policy/technology/530943-health-officials-social-media-scramble-to-fight-vaccine-misinformation
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