Misleading claims about Covid vaccines are negatively impacting confidence in the rollout
No, the Covid-19 vaccines do not contain microchips that allows large businesses to control humanity through 5G networks.
Nor do they alter your DNA or cause cancers and infertility.
But according to a new study by Australian academics, far too many people are buying into such unfounded theories and being dissuaded from receiving a jab – with most of the rumours starting in America.
Theories have been posted by everyone from ordinary Australians to a sitting member of parliament and one of the country’s most famous – and now infamous – TV chefs.
The AAP FactCheck team has debunked claims the government and media are using false positive Covid-19 tests as a reason to impose lockdowns, that the vaccine modifies a person’s genes, and that the virus can be cured by a lemon and bicarb hot tea.
Similarly the new University of NSW study, published on Thursday, found viral misinformation was spreading at an alarming rate on social media and other online outlets.
The UNSW team reviewed more than 600 pieces of misinformation written in 24 different languages and originating from more than 50 countries, which collectively were shared, liked, re-tweeted or reacted to by in excess of 100 million people.
Inspired by their previous study, which linked general coronavirus misinformation to deaths abroad, the team embarked on a mission to look at what impact misinformation about the vaccine may be having.
While their original study did not establish a link to any Australian deaths, the researchers fear that viral vaccine misinformation is having a tangible effect in the country.
‘We picked up 17 different rumours coming out of Australia,’ the paper’s senior author Associate Professor Holly Seale told AAP.