Misinformation/Fake News

Is there a difference between fake news and misinformation?

The damage both do can be devastating as we see in the press coverage this morning BAME take-up of the #Covid19 vaccine has been so poor the hub in East London has reduced it’s opening hours.

Without giving clear, factual information, paths are left open to sow the seeds of doubt and confusion to such an extent people no longer believe the facts when they are finally presented.

Instead of listening to factual scientific research and evidence, people listen to voices in their communities saying the vaccine contains pork or foetal derivatives for example. Who questions these thoughts?

Professor Geoff Palmer from Life Sciences at Heriot-Wyatt University shared on Sky News this morning why he felt this situation arose. Of Jamaican descent himself, Professor Palmer explained as a child he had queued for hours for polio etc vaccines. With his professional background he knows the power the Covid-19 vaccine will have in unlocking freedoms.

He shared a couple of views on why the situation leading to the low uptake of BAME resulting in the East London hub reducing it’s opening hours might have occurred:

  1. Clear information was not given at the start by experts from all ethnic diversity groups
  2. Misinformation was allowed to drown out facts – initially it was felt BAME had a higher tendency to contract Coronavirus developing into Covid-19. Then it was proved this wasn’t the case but poverty and those working in low paid, front line roles.

So how do we rectify this and get more BAME people in East London and beyond to feel comfortable and accept the vaccine? Apart from engaging community leaders to share the facts, Professor Palmer had an interesting thought. The only reason he said he and his family and friends had accepted the vaccine as a group of people over 70 was not for themselves but to protect others becoming ill and possibly dying.

People fundamentally want to do the right thing. Maybe thinking of ways to protect our families and friends at the same time getting our freedoms back is to accept the vaccine.

Now is not the time to discredit the doomsayers or the fake news peddlars. Now is the time to look at the evidence and make an informed decisions to protect ourselves, our communities our lives.

Maybe start a conversation with those in your family who haven’t accepted the vaccine yet and make sure they have all the facts. Choosing whether to have the vaccine or not is personal choice of course. But what is the alternative if we all refuse the vaccine – continuing lockdowns, crumbling economy, etc.

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