Hi, I’m George Allison and I’m the Editor of the UK Defence Journal and I want to say something.
I had my first dose in December 2020, my second in March 2021 and my booster in September 2021. I’m 31 years old with no underlying conditions, so I have no advice about anything other than my specific circumstances and I wouldn’t be qualified to give that advice anyway.
Anyway, now that most younger people are now eligible for the vaccine booster I want to encourage people to speak to a medical professional if they have any doubts about getting it. In light of the vaccine being offered to younger groups and uptake in some regions not being as high as hoped, I have a simple request to make.
Speak to your GP or nurse if you’re not sure, don’t rely on Facebook or other forms of social media to answer your questions. If you’re worried about getting the vaccine because of something you’ve seen on social media then please speak to a medical professional.
I want to encourage people to speak to a medical professional if they have any concerns about safety and to ignore social media hearsay.
Why is this article necessary and why is the UK Defence Journal publishing this?
Good question. One of the biggest threats this country faces is disinformation on COVID19 and the vaccine for the disease. Every day there are thousands of tweets spreading scare stories about the vaccine that otherwise intelligent people take as gospel. Additionally, as many of you know, I work in the NHS so this is an important topic for me personally as I see first-hand the damage done by the spread of the virus and the panic caused by the misinformation surrounding it.
The misinformation relating to the virus is so severe now that Twitter is placing a warning on Tweets that advance unsubstantiated rumours, disputed claims, as well as incomplete or out-of-context information about vaccines.
“We will enforce this policy in close consultation with local, national and global public health authorities around the world, and will strive to be iterative and transparent in our approach,” the company said in a statement.
The policy includes false claims that suggest immunisations and vaccines are used to intentionally cause harm to or control populations and statements about vaccines that invoke a deliberate conspiracy.
“False claims which have been widely debunked about the adverse impacts or effects of receiving vaccinations or false claims that COVID-19 is not real or not serious, and therefore that vaccinations are unnecessary”, said the tech firm.
Facebook isn’t immune either, the firm has said that it has removed 20 Million pieces of Covid19 misinformation. However, although it didn’t offer data on how frequently vaccine misinformation is being shared, Facebook detailed signs of declining vaccine hesitancy in its community standards enforcement report released Wednesday.
According to Forbes here:
“Facebook cited a survey conducted in partnership with Carnegie-Mellon and the University of Maryland which it said found a positive change in attitude in many countries since the start of this year—including increases in vaccine acceptance by 35% in France, 25% in Indonesia and 20% in Nigeria.”
It is incredibly important to note that, despite the misinformation, the vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. That cannot be stressed enough. Any vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through, that has happened.
The better protected the public are against misinformation then the better off the UK is. It’s that simple.