Covid-19: Disinformation, safety concerns over vaccine may damage chances of herd immunity, say experts

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 13, 2021

Representative image   -  REUTERS

According to a new statement published in the journal European pharmaceutical review, disinformation and safety concerns surrounding Covid-19 vaccines could result in uptake issues.

This may damage the chances of achieving herd immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The latest estimates by the report suggest that despite the efficacy of approved vaccines if the protection lasts one year, roughly 80 per cent of the population would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

However, Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData, said in an official statement, “There is some resistance in the general population to receiving these vaccines. Part of the resistance to vaccination stems from misinformation and safety concerns about these vaccines.”

The review report further outlined common disinformation about mRNA vaccines on social media. This includes that they can alter the recipient’s DNA, cause infertility in women or trigger autism, as well as that they contain toxins.

According to the company, such misinformation could be corrected by information campaigns; however, people are likely to continue to believe them if they are looking for confirmation of preconceived fears.

The report noted that severe allergic reactions and other adverse events have scared some of the public, despite their small number.

Swanson concluded. “Uptake concern issues can be lessened in hospitals and healthcare systems by requiring inoculations and improved employee communication about the safety of the vaccine and the importance of being vaccinated. Vaccination campaigns will have to educate the public on the risks of vaccination versus the risks of Covid-19.”

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Published on February 13, 2021
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