Covid: anti-vaccines are already on the rise

Posted on Nov 14, 2020 at 12:29 PM

“The best advice I can give you is, above all, do not get vaccinated”… The name of Kim Glow, reality TV starlet will probably mean nothing to over twenty years. But on November 11, her video on Instagram, where she has 1 million fans, to denounce the next vaccine against Covid-19 did not go unnoticed.

Its video is worthy of the best conspiratorial scenarios: the vaccine would inoculate nanoparticles activated by 5G, Covid would be a disease invented to fight against global overpopulation … It is also the reflection, distorted by social networks, of generalized mistrust and growing in France against vaccines in recent years, that the announcement by Pfizer of an upcoming vaccine 90% effective against the coronavirus has awakened.

The French are the least ready to be vaccinated

Several surveys published in recent days show that one in two French people do not intend to be vaccinated against the disease. There are those who still wish to be reassured about the upcoming vaccine, and those who, structurally, are against vaccines.

According to Odoxa, the irreducible, those “Systematically refusing any type of vaccine” represent 15% of the French. They were only 10% in 2015. “The French more systematically question the merits of certain progress. This is true for drugs and vaccines ”, analysis Céline Bracq, General Manager of Odoxa. According to Ipsos, which published a study on 15 countries in early November, it is in France that the consent to be vaccinated against the Covid is the lowest .

Movement amplified by social networks

If it goes beyond the conspiracy sphere alone, the anti-vaccine movement finds a spectacular sounding board in social networks. Facebook and Youtube have certainly taken steps to limit anti-vaccine content – Facebook recently decided to no longer allow anti-vaccine advertising -, but these are not the only social networks. On Twitter and Instagram, those with a large audience – “influencers” – also play a crucial role. “When someone has 1 million subscribers, the impact is clear because these subscribers trust him”, notes a specialist in social networks.

“There is an ecosystem that allows the promotion of anti-vaccine content. Algorithms actively participate by recommending them hundreds of millions of times. The platforms feed into each other, creating a repetition of unfounded theories. This massive repetition manages to convince part of the population “, analyzes algorithms specialist Guillaume Chaslot, founder of Algo Transparency and former Youtube employee.

“Pedagogy and transparency”

In this context, the preparation by the government of the vaccine campaign against the coronavirus promises to be delicate. Already criticized for his management of the crisis , the executive must prepare this vaccination campaign in a context of mistrust. At the Ministry of Health, we promise “Pedagogy and transparency” on the future vaccine, which will not be mandatory .

“We will not distribute a vaccine that we are not sure”, we promise in the entourage of Olivier Véran, the Minister of Health. “The government will not be able to speak for itself in this campaign. It will have to be relayed by scientists, but also doctors and associations active in health, adds Céline Bracq. Necessary but probably insufficient to calm the anti-vaccine movement.

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