Vaccine hesitancy due to fake news of COVID-19 Vaccine hesitancy due to fake news of COVID-19

Vaccine hesitancy due to fake news of COVID-19

In low-income countries, people are hesitant towards the COVID-19 vaccine due to fake news
Política 26 octubre, 2021 user5 0
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Fake news and conspiracy theories of COVID-19 leads to vaccine hesitancy all over the world. Studies show that countries with low-income is more sceptical to COVID-19 vaccine compared to high- and middle-income countries. In Nairobi, a low-income country, rumors, fake news and conspiracy theories have created fear of getting the vaccine.

Zakiya Abbas is a 57-year-old woman with hypertension. She was told that taking the vaccine could worsen her underlying condition. On the contrary, health experts advise the opposite, states Denvex.

A Nairobi-based health-worker explained that one of the conspiracy theories is that COVID-19 vaccines are a part of population control by the world leaders.

Where there is not enough trustworthy information available, fake news and misinformation gets created. Social media helps spread this kind of content. In low-income countries, power-positioned people or rumors can be the source of conspiracy theories or fake news.

The spread of COVID-19 fake news

According to Google Trends, the most Googled word worldwide in 2020 is coronavirus. The need for information was massive during the covid-19 outbreak in 2020. Still, people are searching for trustworthy news.

With the coronavirus, there is a lot of fake news spreading all over social media. Accordingly, it is journalists’ job to break down the facts and present it in an understandable way to the readers.

Messages, statements and warnings of COVID-19 get shared all over social media. Therefore, journalists are fighting every active SoMe-user to present the facts.

Battle between «new» and «old» journalism

The documentary “Page One: Inside the New York Times” presents the dilemma between “new” journalism and “old” journalism. As the documentary was made in a time where social media was arising, only a few of the journalists used these platforms for information and communication. Although, Brian Stelter was one of the journalists that used these sources. He refers to an experience where he heard colleagues of him discuss an event at noon, whilst he had already read about that event at midnight on Twitter.

On the other hand, traditional journalists in The New York Times holds on to the traditional form of journalism where the journalist contacts sources in order to make an article. David Carr is an example of this. He explains that a problem with utilizing social media as an active source is that anyone can share information. Therefore, the information is less trustworthy.

Women getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Fake news of COVID-19 is not preventing her from taking the vaccine.

A young woman takes her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Fake news of COVID-19 has led to vaccine hesitancy in several countries.

Battle fake news on social media

This division is obvious and is most likely one of the major transitions in modern journalism. With utilizing social media, the journalist gets access to a huge amount of information. The social media platforms also allows him or her to interact with the readers.

When people search “coronavirus” in Google, newspapers, official government sites and press-releases should appear. Not social media posts. This will help to stop the fake news that flourish on social media. But at the same time, it is crucial for journalists to look into claims and statements made on social media as some of this information can be key information in a journalists work.

Therefore, it is important for journalists such as David Carr to always be open to new forms of sources. Because – as the documentary later stated – “the media is not the message, the messages are the media”.

Stine Marie Gaustadnes Hansen


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