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Just 30% of Brits say they would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine, with scientists blaming anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories and mistrust in government

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Just 30% of Brits say they would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine, with scientists blaming anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories and mistrust in government

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  • Scientists say the UK government must fight misinformation to convince people to get a vaccine.
  • Just 30% of Brits told an opinion poll that they would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine.
  • 16% said they were unlikely to get a vaccine or definitely wouldn’t.
  • The researchers said conspiracy theories and public mistrust were fuelling vaccine skepticism.
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month said anti-vaxxers were “nuts.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Less than a third of British people say they would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine, with scientists warning that the UK government and social media companies must fight misinformation for a vaccine to be widely accepted.

New research by pollsters Ipsos Mori and Kings College London university found that 30% of people in the UK said they were certain to get a vaccine for COVID-19 if it became available. 

23% said they were very likely and 20% said they were fairly likely.

However, 16% of respondents said they were either unlikely to get a vaccine or definitely wouldn’t.

Of those respondents who said they definitely wouldn’t get a vaccine, 36% said they believed “too much fuss” is being made of the virus, which has led to nearly 47,000 deaths in the UK, while 34% said the UK government was attempting to control the population by making people wear face masks.

Scientists behind the research said there was a clear link between opposition to a vaccine and social media as a source of news. 27% of respondents who said they got their news from Whatsapp said they would be unlikely to get the virus.

Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the policy institute at Kings College London, warned that skepticism towards vaccines was fueled by conspiracy theories and a lack of public trust in politicians and science.

He said: “Misperceptions about vaccines are among our most directly damaging beliefs and they’re clearly influencing people’s intentions during the coronavirus crisis.

“While one in six in the UK say they are unlikely to, or definitely won’t, get a potential vaccine, this rises to around a third or more among certain groups, with a clear link to belief in conspiracy theories and mistrust of government, authority and science.

“Vaccines are one of our greatest achievements and there is a great deal of faith that we’ll eventually develop one for COVID-19 — but more still need to be convinced of how important it could be for ending this crisis.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently said anti-vaxxers are ‘nuts’

Matt Hancock

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month said anti-vaxxers were “threatening lives.”

Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS


Duffy told Bloomberg that a “simple communications approach” is not going to be enough to convince people to get a vaccine, advising Boris Johnson’s UK government to team up with social media companies to combat misinformation.

“The study shows how uncertain large proportions of the population are about vaccines, and how much this is connected to where they get their information, but also their broader underlying beliefs and values.

“We’ll need tailored messages for different groups, and to engage social media platforms to contain and remove blatant conspiracy theories.”

Prime Minister Johnson last month said people who opposed vaccines — or anti-vaxxers — were “nuts.”

Matt Hancock, the UK’s health secretary, last month urged members of Parliament of all political parties to stand “shoulder to shoulder” against anti-vaxxers. “Those who promulgate lies about vaccines that are safe and have been approved, they are threatening lives,” he said.

Johnson’s UK government has ordered millions of doses of potential vaccines. 

It has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine being developed by Oxford University, which is regarded as the frontrunner in the global race to produce a coronavirus vaccine.

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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