From the Introduction: "Vaccines are one of the most consequential, safe, efficient and effective medical discoveries in history. Few other inventions have saved so many lives. And yet today, amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, vaccination finds itself undermined as never before. It is another of mankind's inventions - social media - that has subverted public confidence in vaccines, by empowering ideologues, hucksters and the perhaps well-meaning but misinformed - people trying to make sense of the severity and complexity of the scientific issues being discussed - to identify and communicate with potential converts at zero cost. Conspiracy theories proliferate where there is deep epistemic anxiety, that is, when people feel uncertain about what is true or false. Covid-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] is new and unfamiliar. The scale of its impact is immense and yet when it comes to our best hope for vanquishing the disease, many have little understanding of how vaccines actually work or of the role they have played historically in eliminating diseases that once crippled and killed. Our health authorities have, understandably, focused on acute management of the Coronavirus threat and its spread. Out of sheer necessity, as they try to comprehend the disease, the message has been 'trust our best guess'. This has given anti-vaxxers an opportunity to exploit subtle shifts in recommendations as scientific knowledge grows and position themselves in opposition to an aloof, fallible medical establishment in the same way that political 'populists' define themselves in part by contrasting their authenticity to a real or imagined political 'establishment's' failures."
2020 Center for Countering Digital Hate Ltd
Center for Countering Digital Hate: https://www.counterhate.co.uk/