Secret plans reveal top anti-vaxxers plotting to exploit Covid to launch huge misinformation campaign about vaccines
THE world's leading anti-vaxxers are plotting to exploit Covid to launch the largest ever misinformation campaign about vaccines, secret plans have revealed.
They have drawn up a sophisticated anti-vaxx playbook aims to spread three “master narratives”.
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Firstly they aim to spread the claim that Covid isn’t dangerous, secondly that vaccines are a threat to our health and thirdly that people cannot trust the experts.
And in a private conference call attended by the world's leading anti-vaxx figures, they discussed how Covid represents a historic opportunity to reach larger numbers of the public than ever before.
In a rallying cry to their supporters, the anti-vaxxers said the Covid pandemic offers them the chance to create long-lasting distrust in the effectiveness, safety and necessity for vaccination.
Undercover researchers from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) managed to gain access to the private calls to reveal the dangerous anti-vaccination tactics.
Their probe also found that private Facebook groups are being used to train members in identifying friends and family members who are “vaccine hesitant” and how to convert them into fully-fledged anti-vaxxers.
Online anti-vaxxers continue to grow, with 147 of the leading accounts gaining 10.1 million followers since 2019, an increase of 25 per cent.
The additional growth took place primarily on Instagram and YouTube, with anti-vaxxers adding an extra 4.3 million followers on each platform.
The report warned that anti-vaxxers have adapted far better to social media than public health bodies.
Among those urging people to exploit Covid to spread anti-vaxx myths on the conference call infiltrated by CCDH was Robert F. Kennedy Jr, the nephew of former president John F. Kennedy, who believes in the scientifically-debunked link between vaccines and autism.
He who told activists listening to the conference: “All of the truths that we've been trying to broadcast for many, many years.
"There are people hearing it and the impact and those seeds are landing on very fertile ground.”
The disgraced physician Andrew Wakefield told the conference: “The population who are aware of these issues has grown dramatically in the face of coronavirus, Covid-19.
“It is now an issue for discussion by everyone.”
Other anti-vaxxers such as Sherri Tenpenny highlighted the Covid pandemic as an opportunity to build a wider movement with campaigners against masks and lockdowns:
'ALL HANDS ON DECK'
She said: “We need everyone to get politically active, get behind this cause, get behind Hugs Over Masks, get behind MAD, Mothers Against Distancing, get behind the NVIC, the National Vaccine Information Center, get behind the things that we're doing over at vaxxter.com, and Courses for Mastery, and our boot camp course that open enrolment is coming up again, the end of September.
“All the things that we're doing, we need all hands on deck.
“We need everybody to release their fear from their brains, get rid of their masks, go hug people and absolutely say no. Wake up your community.”
The CCDH has provided a 5-step guide for how everyone can help in the fight against vaccine misinformation online.
It advises people not to engage with anti-vaccine misinformation, not to overreact by assuming the information is widely believed, urges people to correct fake news they hear from family and friends privately.
It also urges people to spread pro-vaccine messages, get vaccinated and then boast about it by posting on social media.
The boss of CCDH Imran Ahmed said last night: “Anti-vaxxers view the Covid vaccine as an opportunity to create long-lasting distrust in the effectiveness, safety, and necessity for vaccination. Unless urgent action is taken, they may succeed.
“Currently, anti-vaxxers are permitted to organise, recruit, and spread outright lies which threaten human life to millions of people online.
"While the successful development of Covid vaccines was a cause for huge optimism for our ability to overcome coronavirus, that great work could be undone by this malignant Anti-Vaxx Industry of propagandists.
“It is vital that governments, social media platforms, and pro-vaccine advocates study the anti-vaxxers’ plan for the Covid vaccine, to avoid falling for their traps and do a better job of promoting the Covid vaccines as safe, vital and trustworthy developments.”
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