Misinformation fuels COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories

This is a recording of the 19 News 5 p.m. newscast.
Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 11:33 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, conspiracy theories have been a huge problem.

Now conspiracy theories are targeting Covid-19 vaccines, even as more data comes out every day about how safe and effective they are.

Misinformation is leading some people to skip the vaccine.

Nearly three in ten Americans, 27%, don’t plan to get the Covid-19 vaccine, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

“We hear a lot of hesitancy, well this was developed too quickly. Or trying to feed into the conspiracy theories that the mRNA vaccines are going to alter my DNA, and those different things,” said Mike Derr, health commissioner of Holmes County General Health District.

He said there’s too much reliance on social media for so-called “facts.”

He sees it every day in his rural northeast Ohio county.

“Some of the far-fetched conspiracies of micro chipping and tracking and those types of things. Those have no base in this. This was developed by the private world, this wasn’t a government-created vaccine,” Derr said.

Derr believes the solution lies with health officials like him.

And trusted community leaders stepping up to share information and their own vaccine experiences.

“I would say there definitely is hesitancy, it’s cultural, it’s mistrust of the government, it’s a lot of different scenarios that play into that. I think we have to emphasize that this is lifesaving, this is the next way we get back to normal,” Derr said.

The poll shows most Americans do want to get vaccinated.

But younger people and Republicans are more likely to say they don’t want the shots.

Copyright 2021 WOIO. All rights reserved.