From the JFK assassination to the McCarthyism communist trials of the 1950s, conspiracies have always been used by groups or individuals to exact their own agenda or influence in society.
Today, conspiracists have become more popular than ever, wielding unusual amounts of power, they have become synonymous with social media rabbit holes like YouTube. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a global health crisis this year, many people see this as an opportunity to spread their own, sometimes astonishing, ideologies.
One of them being – Bill Gates, the billionaire, is the mastermind behind the pandemic or that he is an ulterior motive, trying to control us by inserting chips into the vaccine. These types of conspiracies are nothing new and have been evolving for some time. The root of the modern anti-vaccination movement stems from a now-debunked and retracted 1998 paper published by Dr Andrew Wakefield in the esteemed scientific journal The Lancet linking vaccinations to autism.
The WHO have said that the anti-vaccination movement is one of the top ten threats to global health and with the imminent arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, world health bodies want to make sure people have the right information and that people will not suffer needlessly because if it.
To set the record straight, we sat down with the author of the forthcoming book, Anti-Vaxxers, Jonathan M. Berman an Assistant Professor in the Department of Basic Sciences at NYITCOM–Arkansas, an active science communicator, and a national co-chair of the 2017 March for Science to discuss the truths and untruths of vaccines, why he has no answer for social media’s nefarious influence and if he would himself take the COVID-19 vaccine when it arrives.
Anti-vaxxers: How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement is out in September on MIT press