All eyes are on scientists conducting studies like those at Oxford University, where it is believed that a new vaccine could be approved before the holidays to be used by medical professionals and the elderly.
A vaccine is still the most important way out of the coronavirus crisis, and there is hope that it could be ready quite soon.
A vaccine seems to be one of the only ways out of this crisis, but misinformation is swirling
The scope and spread of conspiracy theories surrounding vaccines has increased, and the social media is now full of misinformation on the subject, and more and more people are being taken in by it.
For it to be effective, people need to be vaccinated – and not everyone wants it.
But, of course, the creation and distribution of a new vaccine against Covid-19 is only part of the problem.
Back in July, we spoke with Dr. Mark Forshaw, Head of Department at the School of Psychology, and John Moores from Liverpool to find out why so many people currently believe misleading information about vaccines and how dangerous this is for public health.
Dr. Forshaw is also the coordinator of the Crisis and Pandemic Stakeholder Group, which conducts a number of different projects to understand the coronavirus crisis and the psychological problems associated with it.
“We are certainly seeing an increase in reports of anti-vax memes and so on. It is also really hard to know where they originally came from.
He said that the conspiracy theories about vaccines are in some ways like the viruses themselves, he added: “It is difficult to know the prevalence for sure, and how the viruses themselves spread and mutate these things over time.
“The person who told us something is usually not the first source.”
He explained that much of the misinformation about vaccines seems to have common characteristics with many other conspiracy theories.
“There is often a basis in fear (of someone, somewhere, who is out to get us), even if that someone is not clearly defined, and it is unclear how or why the conspiracy would or could work.
He added: “We find that they are usually based on a grain of evidence, even if that evidence has now been completely exposed – as in the case of MMR vaccines and autism.
“Humans are inherently highly evolved creatures who have an instinct for suspicion, and for the same reason we are relatively easy to ‘scare’.
“But if we wipe it off, something bad might happen one day.
“It’s a numbers game. If we hear a strange noise in the dark, 99.99% of the time we are not in danger at all.
“This was a system that most animals developed to cope with the worries of being eaten by prey while sleeping relatively exposed on a forest floor.
“This means that we assume there is a danger when we are actually quite safe….