The greatest threat to the global Covid vaccination drive is the growth of a movement determined to discredit it.
It is led by conspiracy theorists adept at swamping social media with absurd and utterly baseless propaganda.
With vaccine uptake of 80 per cent required to achieve ‘herd immunity’, some experts say ‘anti-vaxxers’ pose a bigger threat than the coronavirus.
In the US, where the movement is most vocal, around a third of Americans insist they will not take the vaccine: a huge blow to the inoculation strategy.
Wild and untrue claims made about vaccines online include the claim that they have been created by Microsoft founder Bill Gates to inject microchips into people, and that corona-virus has been made up as part of a ‘plot to enforce vaccination’.
With vaccine uptake of 80 per cent required to achieve ‘herd immunity’, some experts say ‘anti-vaxxers’ pose a bigger threat than the coronavirus. An anti-vaxxer is seen above demonstrating at a rally outside Downing Street
Discredited former doctor Andrew Wakefield, who made bogus claims about links between the MMR vaccine and autism, is at the forefront of fuelling the paranoia about Covid vaccines in the United States.
Now dating Australian model Elle Macpherson, Wakefield has acquired a kind of warped celebrity status, whipping up fears about vaccine safety.
This hysteria is nothing new: in the 1800s, campaigners against the smallpox vaccine warned it risked turning those who received it into cows.
Their catchphrase was, ‘Better a felon’s cell than a poisoned babe’, at a time when those who refused the inoculation could be jailed.
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