COVID-19: Rise of Online Misinformation Could Hinder Coronavirus Vaccine Adoption, Scientists Say | UK News

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The scientific battle for a vaccine may be coming to an end, but another battle is looming: convincing the public to get the vaccine.

Experts have worried about the rise of misinformation online for some time, and it is becoming increasingly clear that fake news is fueling hesitation about vaccines.

A study found that scary stories in the digital world can prevent adoption to such an extent that collective immunity will be impossible.

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Anti-vaxxer Louise Creffield says the period has been busy with more members joining her Facebook group

The research team, led by Professor Heidi Larson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, asked 4,000 people if they would be willing to take a coronavirus vaccine.

Figures show that 54% of people would be happy to be vaccinated – so far so good.

But the researchers found after people looked at fake news online, that number had dropped from 6.4% to 46.7%.

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Professor Heidi Larson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

It is estimated that for herd immunity to be achieved, between 50 and 80% of the population would need to receive a vaccine – the variance depends on the effectiveness of the vaccine in the first place.

The results are a huge headache for the government for obvious reasons – even if a vaccine works, if people are reluctant or refuse to take it, it just won’t work.

Louise Creffield – who is an anti-vaxxer and has campaigned against the lockdown – says the period has been busy with more members joining her Facebook group skeptical of COVID-19[feminine[feminine vaccine.

She told Sky News: “The government hasn’t communicated well, they’ve changed their minds so many times. They cause harm. People are suffering from the lockdown. “

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The team behind the revolutionary COVID jab

Vaccines are historically among the safest and most effective drugs ever invented, but in the digital world, doubt and conspiracy theories persist.

In Manchester today we randomly stopped members of the public to ask if they would be the first in line to get the coronavirus vaccine and most were hesitant citing safety concerns.

However, some people thought the vaccine was a Trojan horse that would be used by the government to “kill the people”.

The fact that these ridiculous theories online are gaining traction is extremely disturbing.

Professor Larson says more needs to be done to correct the distortions and end false narratives, but she has no illusions that changing attitudes in the digital Wild West will be easy.

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Who will be the first to receive the vaccine?

Prof Larson, director of the Trusted Vaccine Project, told Sky News: “These anti-groups have gotten pretty sophisticated. They turn things into questions and see doubt and provoke questions.

“From a human rights perspective, it’s more difficult to quit. ”

As vaccine rollout draws closer, the information warfare will only intensify.

What is clear is that the government must step up its safety messages if it is to convince much of the public of the benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine and save lives.

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