how COVID vaccine deniers could impact the “mobile environment” –

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how COVID vaccine deniers could impact the “mobile environment” – fr


“The misinformation problem has been incredibly acute with the pandemic, but it is not going away. The spread of disinformation is one of the great challenges of our time ‘

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In the video, Officer Cadet Ladislas Kenderesi, dressed in military attire, shifts his weight from one foot to the other and glances at a small piece of paper.

It is not clear if the “killer vaccine” was included in his speaking notes, but soon after using the words, Kenderesi admitted that he would “probably get himself into trouble” for urging others members of the Canadian Armed Forces to refrain from helping distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

As he predicted, Kenderesi stepped in and was charged this month with a mutiny-related offense for his appearance last December at an anti-lockdown rally in downtown Toronto.

“Ugh. This speech, ”replied Timothy Caulfield on Tuesday when asked about anti-vax sentiment in the COVID-19 era and how seriously it should be taken.

“We still have to strive to reduce the spread of the community, we still have to get as many people vaccinated as possible, so, yes, the rhetoric from diehard deniers counts,” said Caulfield, professor of health at the University of Alberta. law and politics and specialist in denial of science.

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Anti-vaccination messages could impact the “mobile environment,” he said, meaning the hesitant whose calculation of risks and benefits could still be a bit “foggy”.

“You are just injecting doubt into their calculation.”

The false claim that vaccines can “shed” or spread particles of the coronavirus spike protein through their breath or pores, infecting others and causing reproductive harm in the unvaccinated, is just the latest affirmation fed by those who are totally opposed to vaccination, said Caulfield.

In May, a butcher’s shop in the Greater Toronto Area banned those vaccinated for 28 days, after vaccination, asking customers trapped to order online for pickup or curbside delivery only, despite assurances from experts that there is no biological pathway that would cause excretion. possible COVID-19 vaccines. “It’s like asking myself, do I think if someone gets this vaccine they might develop x-ray vision,” Dr Paul Offit, co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine told FactCheck .org.

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Polls show a small proportion of the population is keen on shedding, DNA damage and other COVID vaccination claims, with about 10 percent of Canadian adults surveyed saying a strong ‘no’ to the vaccination. From a broader public health perspective, “it’s probably not worth trying to change your mind,” or wacky tales, Caulfield said.

“You can’t keep banging your head against the wall all the time, you know, saying, ‘I can’t reach everyone,’” said Joe Schwarcz, director of the Bureau of Science and Society. from McGill University to the Tyee. “No, you can’t, you have to accept that. And you fight your battles wherever you can. “

Evidence suggests that when people are publicly debunked, they double down, become more entrenched, and more aggressive, which scientists have described as the “perverse downstream consequences of debunking.” When researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) identified 2,000 users who shared fake news policies on Twitter and responded to their fake tweets with links to fact-checking websites, the correction increased “focus partisan and linguistic toxicity of subsequent users re-tweets, ”they wrote.

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While many argue that trying to dissuade the anti-vaccine community is like arguing about religion or politics, “a more constructive perspective might view the anti-vax movement as a religious phenomenon,” wrote researchers from the London School of Health and Hygiene in The Lancet. .

“Just as cults are lumped together as sinister, bad, or false, the discourse surrounding anti-vaxxers in academic and popular circles can be dismissive and derogatory,” they wrote. This can promote an “us-and-them” divide, creating martyrs and “encouraging greater involvement in the movement and radicalization”. Instead, they proposed “a more inclusive approach, in which the same curious dialogue and contextual understanding that is suggested for vaccine reluctance should be extended to members of the anti-vax movement.”

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Others accused the media of ignoring links between anti-lockout protests and far-right extremism.

But the anti-vaccine community is not a homogeneous group, Caulfield said. “We have to be careful not to over-generalize.”

People are drawn for ideological reasons. Some are intuitively appealing, like consent, choice, freedom. “It brings you into the community and lets you get around the science,” Caulfield said.

“Once you are part of this community, you are part of this echo chamber, you see people who are like you, who believe the same things – all of these things can be really influential and impact not only your perceptions, but also on your behavior. . “

Although their numbers are similar, with around 10% in each camp, there are distinctions between anti-vaxxers and vaccine-hesitant. The die-hard ‘no’s are much more likely to think COVID has been greatly exaggerated, said Jack Jedwab, president and CEO of the Association for Canadian Studies. They are the least afraid of COVID (in comparison, almost one in two of those who do not know if they will be vaccinated fear catching the coronavirus), they are fiercely opposed to any restrictions and vaccination passports – for the hard-core group – are also out of the question, Jedwab said. Those who reject vaccines can also delude themselves about the limits of their vaccination-free lifestyle, he said.

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Yet, according to the latest polls, more than eight in ten Canadians are already vaccinated or plan to be vaccinated, the uncertain fall into a certain category, and those who initially said “probably not” have dissipated as well.

Caulfield is not convinced that debunking is a futile exercise. In a recent article, he cites a 2019 analysis of available research that found no “backfire” effects. While this can happen under certain circumstances, “it is certainly not such a robust and measurable phenomenon that it should prevent us from redoubling our efforts to counter disinformation on social media,” he said. .

Caulfield believes it’s important to have a sense of what draws people to anti-vaccine communities – “what the breakdowns of trust have been, what have they found appealing in these communities, so that we can learn in the future.

“The misinformation problem has been incredibly acute with the pandemic, but it is not going away. Spreading disinformation is one of the great challenges of our time, ”he said.

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