PARIS | The vaccine against the COVID-19 does not exist, but the anti-vaccines are already against it, and multiply the infox: “It will inject electronic chips”, “poison people”… Already very present on the internet for years, the galaxy “antivax” is “revived” and made more visible by the pandemic.
The video “Plandemic” has been viewed millions of times on YouTube and other platforms since may. Among the multitude of infox that it relays on the COVID-19: “vaccines have killed millions of people”. About this list of substances the names troubling (phenoxyethanol, potassium chloride, etc) supposed to be contained in vaccines in toxic amounts (which is not the case), it has been shared thousands of times on Facebook at the end of April.
In these publications, hundreds, or even thousands of comments of people who say that they do not intend to be vaccinated.
The rhetoric of anti-vaccines is not new, but is gaining in visibility in favor of a pandemic to the unprecedented scale, explain experts interviewed by AFP.
Researchers around the world are engaged in a race against the clock to find a vaccine, with the hope of a vaccine in several months, at best.
The opposition immunization date or the internet or the COVID-19, but Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have created “a kind of echo chamber is very effective for the infox anti-vaccine,” explains Sylvain Delouvée, a researcher in social psychology at the University of Rennes 2, which is reminiscent of the “scientific consensus” clearly in favour of vaccination.
Despite the willingness of these platforms limit the virality of the content is anti-vaccine, they proliferate, and derive enormous importance, said Mr. Delouvée.
Highly motivated, strongly related to the complotisme in general, “protean, without a clear identity”, the galaxy anti-vaccine on the internet feeds of several speeches, that are often beyond the political divisions, such as criticism of “Big Pharma”, explains Mr. Delouvée, who reports to “the same resurgence of” infox than before the pandemic.
Some proclaim as such — as this visual claiming, incorrectly, that vaccines contain exactly the same thing as the lethal injections of prisoners sentenced to death, other, with, in addition, a reference to the COVID-19.
In reality, it is difficult to know “if the opponents of vaccines are more active because of the pandemic or whether they are more visible because of the attention to be very important given to the pandemic,” said David Broniatowski, of the american University George Washington.
“Groups “antivax” (…) tend to be very active in constantly, (the COVID-19) has just “revitalised””, said Amelia Jamison, of the University of Maryland in the United States.
The current crisis shows their ability to be recycled “very quickly” the infox to adapt to the news, ” she continues.
Thus, if the theories accusing Bill Gates want to vaccinate force already circulating prior to the current period, they have experienced a new youth, with a particular success for the one accusing him of wanting to take advantage of the COVID-19 to inject an electronic chip via a vaccine.
“A new virus, it means a new event that is going to enter into their scheme of narrative and (…) they are going to do to coincide with their vision of the world,” said Mrs. Jamison. So, for these activists, ultra-determined, the mere mention of a vaccine “has become +we will vaccinate force”.
It notes in this regard specific to the COVID-19: the junction common among anti-vaccine, anti-mask and anti-sub, in the name of individual freedom against the authorities, ideology is very present in the United States.
Sylvain Delouvée speaks of a “groundswell that continues to grow again and again”, with anti-vaccines “occupy the field” on the internet.
However, these are “small groups,” notes Amelia Jamison, not necessarily very numerous, but very sound, very strong, wielding perfectly “the tools at their disposal” to “appear larger and more unified than they are” and “target” effectively those who do not have firm views on the subject.
On the internet, one can have the impression that it is “50/50” between “pro” and “anti”, or “in real life, this is not the case at all,” she continued.
Under “the recent explosion of theories, anti-vaccination” on the internet, the authors of a study published in Nature, believe that “the opposition to the vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 (…) could amplify outbreaks as was the case with measles in 2019”.
In 2019, the world Health Organization (WHO) has classified the”hesitation vaccine” as one of the ten threats to global health.
According to a survey conducted by the charitable foundation Wellcome Trust, in 2018, 7% of respondents in 140 countries did not believe that the vaccines are safe, while 11 % had no opinion.