Far-Right Extremists Find New Friends: Anti-Vaxxers

Far-right extremists in the US have latched on to anti-vaxxers to stir mistrust in the government, The New York Times reports

  • They’re spreading stories with headlines like “Doctors and Nurses Giving the Covid-19 Vaccine Will be Tried as War Criminals.”

  •  Extremists linked to QAnon, the Capitol-storming Proud Boys, and other groups have hijacked stats from the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System to undermine vaccine confidence.   

“Whatever your crazy conspiracy belief is, there is someone who has a Covid conspiracy to match it,” says Melissa Ryan, who heads up a disinformation research firm.
There’s been a 50% increase in anti-vaccine conspiracy accounts on social media.

“The insidious spread of false health information has matched the spread of COVID-19 stride for stride,” writes Tara Kirk Sell, PhD, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in a commentary in The Hill.

New Report: Sell and colleagues offer a 4-pillared national strategy to combat the disinformation scourge in a new report.

ICYMI: A Global Health NOW and Pulitzer Center workshop on this topic is now available on YouTube. Sell, misinformation expert Claire Wardle, and AP journalist Claire Napier Galofaro discussed disinformation and effective responses. The workshop “Infodemic: How to Fight Disinformation—and Not Make Things Worse” was part of this month’s Consortium of Universities for Global Health conference.

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