The Coronavirus vaccine has been making headlines as the first shipments to America have arrived. On Tuesday December 14th, Sandra Lindsay was the first American to receive the vaccine. After receiving the vaccine, Lindsay commented, “I have no fear. I trust science. What I don’t trust is getting Covid-19.” Lindsay may have “no fear” but some do. People have been scared of the possible side effects of the coronavirus vaccine, if it is actually safe, and much more. However, that does not allow people to spread false claims about the vaccine but it seems as if they have been all over social media already.
The rumors began with the thought that the vaccine could alter people’s DNA or that the vaccine would not be able to keep up with virus mutations. The conspiracy theories have started to get out of control because some internet users are wary of trusting the government and other institutions. Social media companies are trying to keep up with the false information, but it’s getting out of hand; this is now becoming a public health concern.
Some of the reasons why false information is spreading quickly, is that those with huge social media platforms are able to use their loud voices to spread fear to their followers. Another reason is the limited data on the vaccine; not having all the answers has made it difficult to dispute false claims.
Here are some examples of false information about the vaccine.
In this video, it can be seen that after the nurse receives the vaccine she struggles to answer a question that she gets asked and passes out. Any viewer will get nervous about the vaccine if they see this video, but the explanation for why she fainted gets left out. In an interview, the nurse explains she has a medical condition that causes her to faint. Showing the video without telling this information is how people are easily able to manipulate their followers with their platform.
In this video we can see a comedy skit that someone is making about the side effects of the vaccine. The video is fun and lighthearted, but it can do more damage than good. This video makes the vaccine seem scarier than it has to be. In the video the side effects shown are a bit unimaginable, but just the thought that an erratic side effect could happen is giving the wrong idea to viewers, which puts unnecessary fear into viewers minds.
Luckily, as false information is being spread, medical professionals are also trying to use social media to spread the correct information. Hopefully, more of the correct information gets spread to users than the false. Once one piece of information makes its way through social media apps it is there forever. It is up to the users to make their own decisions about the vaccine and what they choose to believe.