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The Consequences of Health Misinformation

Written By: Yashaswi Bista (Guest Writer)

Have you noticed an uprise in health misinformation during the pandemic? If you have, you are not the only one. It has changed and impacted the lives of millions, whether they know it or not.

Credit: BioTeens

The COVID-19 Vaccine Myth

The most popular health myth has been about the various COVID-19 vaccines. Some people believed the mRNA vaccines altered one’s DNA. But according to the central dogma of molecular biology, that is impossible. Many scientists had also publicly disproved the idea that vaccines could alter DNA, but many continued to believe in this false myth. Why?

Health misinformation spread like crazy through the Internet and other social media platforms. Facebook and Instagram tried to put warning labels on posts they identified as discussing the COVID-19 vaccine after many users spread enormous amounts of false information. In fact, you may have also seen little icons appearing on posts about COVID-19 that could take you to a page with valid and accurate information about it. However, many continued to fear the COVID-19 vaccine, as too much misleading information was constantly being pushed at them. This caused more and more vulnerable groups of people to be affected.

During the rise and peak of COVID, the livelihoods of women and minority groups were disproportionately affected. According to Brookings, most businesses these groups worked in or owned were in the retail and food industries. Because of closures caused by COVID, it was difficult for minority groups to sustain and support their families. Soon after scientists developed the vaccines, ABC News reported that Latino and Black adults were two times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white adults. These communities were disproportionately affected even with a developed vaccine because of the influx of health misinformation about the vaccine. Many feared the consequences of the vaccine itself on their health and the impact of their potential illnesses on their family’s economic stability. Some even remembered and recognized the historical ways their communities have been targeted with various drugs and medications. These past experiences made these new COVID-19 vaccines even scarier.

COVID-19 3 Years Later...

Today, more than three years after the onsight of a global warning about COVID-19 and a global quarantine, COVID-19 is still not gone. In January, the Washington Post reported on the XBB.1.5 variant of COVID, which the World Health Organization believes is the most transmissible variant yet. Of course, a new variant has worried many people, leading to some people spreading health misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines again. This time, some people believe the vaccines cause new COVID-19 variants, which is not true. It is important to stop this myth quickly because COVID-19 is not gone and can still detrimentally affect anyone. Taking booster shots is vital to maintain a good immune response to COVID-19 in light of new variants.



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