Can you imagine that the American government uses a fake vaccine campaign to find local terrorists? Or a large oil company uses a fake vaccine campaign to reduce fertility of a population? And all of that not only proven, but admitted as well? The distrust of the government is all time high! Well, it’s good that this is only fantasy.
But is it? In 2011, as the hunt for Osama bin Laden was intensifying and honing in on a region of Pakistan, the CIA used a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign as part of its intelligence operation. The campaign went door to door, under the pretense of public health, in the hope of finding evidence of bin Laden’s hideout.
The result of that, the majority in Pakistan believed that the West has long used vaccination as a military weapon. And the Pakistanian distrust is not the only one. The history of vaccines in the Global South is fraught with abuse, mismanagement and deception. And the costs have been high. Vaccine hesitancy, particularly in the Global South, has led to distrust in what are safe, life-saving scientific advances for the treatment of some of the deadliest diseases of the past century, including polio, whooping cough and measles.
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Today we are in the middle of a Corona pandemic. And guess what? The authorities are deliriously announcing about the miracle, which is called science. The science managed to develop a vaccine in less then a year! Normally developing a vaccine takes many years to complete! They claim it’s the scientific achievement of the century. No, scrap that, all times!!! Yeah! Amaaaaaazing!! Not?
But now we’re facing an equally epic challenge! How do we convince people to take the vaccine, because of the rising global distrust?
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COVID-19 Face Masks
Some surveys have found that less than 60 percent of Canadians (54 percent, according to Ipsos) and Americans (58 percent, according to Gallup) have said they’ll take a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s released.
Conspiracy theories are running everywhere in the world, especially in the social media and the old way of exchanging information, the mouth-to-mouth communications. Wild theories and conspiracies feeding the distrust, like “The government wants to reduce fertility” or another popular one is “Bill Gates’s plot to inject us with microchips” and the like is persistent. Another one, and this is not a conspiracy, is that there is fear of side effects of such vaccine, which is produced in a record time. They think it’s too fast to be trusted, there is not enough data to prove that such vaccine is safe (short, medium and long term), and they are right.
Vaccine rumours — even the most ridiculous ones — almost always stem from legitimate concerns. And that if we want people to take the vaccine, we actually need to hear them out.
Vaccines are complicated, and they require trust in three core institutions: the government, the scientific community and the pharmaceutical industry. If trust in even one of these is breached we’re going to have a very hard time convincing people to get vaccinated, because the distrust in all of them is high and with reason! And trust in all three is currently being undermined.
Only in the US, 60% of the US population thinks that the last elections are being stolen by the Democrats. The trust in their federal government is for years at a low. The disgraceful practices from many of the pharmaceutical industry are well known and documented (the opioid crisis, ring a bell?). The scientific community is also not shot-free, especially at the beginning of the pandemic with their wild unreliable prognoses about the Pandemic. And not to mention the proven list of failed vaccines over the years!
And most of all, the politicalization of almost everything in society, like large companies, all levels of state and federal government, the media, the social media, etc. is only increasing the distrust of the population in the government, the scientific community and the pharmaceutical industry. All of them are feeding the distrust. And to make matters more complicated, we are having a broken digital media ecosystem, which is totally and globally politicalized.
We see the rise of swinders and profiteers in the form of media outlets, journalists, politicians, institutions, huge gigantic companies in order to increase their profits and powerbase.
And people notice!
People notice finally that there is a strange thing about the enormous rise of corona death, and the ‘sudden’ dramatic drop in influenza death. People notice that there is a dramatic drop in traffic accidents, a drop in death in violent crime, while corona death rise to unprecedented levels. Or a person killed by a bullet in the head and tested positive for corona, is categorized as a corona death. People notice that the cost of lockdowns means a new pandemic in suicides and depressions! They also notice that such news are being suppressed! Suddenly after one article in the media about the rising suicides, this news suddenly disappears.
And then there is the common sense. A national (or even the local ones) lockdown means the increased likelihood of no food on the table, no income, no money for bills, no education, no work, no future! Whatever the authorities may claim that they act in common good and that they do everything to save its population against the virus, in reality they are working on the destruction of their country, their population, their economies.
And now we come back to the original question. Where is the Distrust in Vaccines coming from?
Well, I think I answered that already. The confidence in any form of authorities is all time low.