San Jose, California. – On an unseasonably hot day in February, two people working with a local community group went door-to-door in an ethnically diverse neighborhood to convince people to sign up for the Kovid-19 vaccination.
It was just after 11 in the morning when they encountered a person reluctant to take a shot. Two doors down and 30 minutes later, it happened again. For about an hour, they, 67, stood in the front lawn with George Rodriguez, talking about the neighborhood, the epidemic, and the vaccines available.
“I can see all this stuff online, how is it going to change my DNA. It does something for your DNA, doesn’t it? “Asked Mr. Rodriguez, who is Hispanic. He said,” There is a lot of stuff out there, too much conflicting information. And then I hear that if you get the vaccine, you can still get sick. Why do I say this? Will receive?
Black and Hispanic communities, which were vulnerable to the epidemic and whose vaccination rates have declined, for whites, on social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, and privately on vaccine conspiracy theories, rumors And facing confusing news. The message, health officials and misinformation researchers said.
Misinformation varies, such as claims that vaccines can alter DNA – which is not true – and that vaccines do not work, or that people of color are being used as guinea pigs . A good portion of this misinformation comes from friends, family and celebrities, bubbling up in communities that have been particularly vulnerable to the epidemic and facing other barriers to getting vaccinated.
Foreign news outlets and anti-vaccine activists have also aggressively tried to doubt the safety and efficacy of vaccines made in the United States and Europe.
There are complex efforts by some states to reach black and Hispanic residents of misinformation, especially when health officials have provided special registration codes for vaccine appointments. Instead of an advantage, in some cases codes have become the basis of new false narratives.
“What may seem, on the surface, as doctors who prioritize communities of color are being read online by some, ‘Oh, those doctors want us to be the first guinea pigs,” said Colina Koltai, a researcher University of Washington that studies online conspiracy theories. “I’ve seen people on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, the clubhouse – you name it – saying the code is an experiment as a way to vaccinate communities of color.”
Research conducted by the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation in mid-February is shown A striking disparity between the racial groups receiving the vaccine in the 34 states receiving the data.
State figures vary widely. In Texas, where people who identify as Hispanic make up 42 percent of the population, only 20 percent of vaccinations went to that group. In Mississippi, where black people make up 38 percent of the population, they received 22 percent of vaccinations. According to an analysis by The New York TimesVaccination rates for black Americans are half that of whites, and the gap is even greater for Hispanic people.
Although researchers say the lack of easy access to vaccine sites may be the biggest driver of that deficiency, misinformation is playing a role.
Ms Koltai said that among some communities there is a deep-rooted sense of trust among doctors interested in experimenting on doctors. Anti-vaccine activists have drawn attention to historical examples, including Nazi doctors who conducted experiments in concentration camps, and at a Baltimore hospital, where, 70 years ago, collected cancer cells from Henrietta Lacks, a black mother of five. Went Without his consent.
“The thing about misinformation is that it works best when it is built around the truth. In this case, many communities of color do not trust the medical establishment because they do not have the best history for it, ”Shirin Mitchell, Founder Stop online violence against women, A group that supports women of color who are harassed online.
1943 in Tuskegee, Ala. An experiment conducted on approximately 400 black men in the US is one of the most researched examples of medical misconduct in the black community. In four decades, scientists saw men they knew were infected with syphilis, but did not offer treatment so that they could study the progression of the disease. When this experiment came to light in the 1970s, it Was condemned As a major violation of ethical standards by the medical community.
Researchers studying dissolution followed Tuskegee’s mention on social media over the past year. According to Jignell Labs, a media insights company, Tuskegee used an average of several hundred mentions a week on Facebook and Twitter, with several noticeable spikes that came with the introduction of the Kovid-19 vaccine.
Last week of November, when pharmaceutical companies Modern and Pfizer Announced Promising results in its final studies on the safety of its Kovid-19 vaccines, Tuskegee mentions reached 7,000 a week.
There was another silence until mid-December, when the Food and Drug Administration Announced It gave emergency approval to vaccines. According to Jignall, Tuskegee’s mentions climbed to around 5,000 that week, with some of the viral tweets calling the coronovirus vaccine a “New Tuskegee Study”.
Doctors say they are also hesitant to vaccinate in other demographic groups. Last month, a poll by the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 23 percent of Republicans said they “Certainly“Vaccines are not vaccinated, while 21 percent said they probably” will not receive the coronovirus vaccine.
Native American groups are Is struggling There is a fear of vaccines in their communities, and doctors have reported that some of their Chinese-American patients are bringing articles to Chinese-language media outlets questioning vaccines made in the United States.
Many Black and Hispanic people were already struggling to make appointments and access vaccination sites that are often in whiter, wealthier neighborhoods. And in some cities, officials say that there have been people from those neighborhoods Vaccination Appointment System Flood And carrying supplies for poor Blacks and Hispanic residents.
There is misinformation about who is allowed to receive the vaccine, when it is available and how safety testing has been done, Ms. Mitchell said.
On a recent Friday afternoon at a large vaccination site in Oakland Coliseum, 68-year-old Anthony Jones agreed to take his shot last month, just the last thing he wanted to see on Facebook. He took out his phone and started tapping while waving to his grandson, who had prompted him to his appointment.
“I read something about a woman who died of this thing, and I want to know if she was black,” said Mr. Jones, who after finding it for several minutes was unable to find a Facebook post. “You see a lot of stuff on the Internet that you think that as a black man, you shouldn’t take this vaccine.”
Mr. Jones finally conceded defeat. While he was walking for his shot he remembered that the article he had seen was on WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, and did not recognize him from a website.
“My grandson tells me that I should not believe everything I read on the Internet,” he said. “I like to believe in my grandchildren.”
The next day, Daniel Lander, 38, with Armand Mateos, 28, was promoting a neighborhood in San Jose. For the past five months, Mr. Lander has been going door-to-door in a program, managed by Working Partnership USA, which is a community-based one. In Silicon Valley. The group is working with local county officials to provide misinformation about the epidemic and vaccines.
“We hear people saying that they saw this or that celebrity sharing something on Twitter or Instagram that made them think the vaccine was a bad idea. People value the opinions of the people they see, And these celebrities have a lot of influence, ”said Mr. Lander.
As he spoke with Mr. Rodriguez, a muscular man and enthusiastic talking Mr. Lander and Mr. Interacted with Matos, saying he had sympathy for her concerns. He said that he had a lot of questions of the same kind, and explained his decision to get the vaccines himself. Mr. Rodriguez asked where he got his shots and how he liked it.
Mr Mateos clearly touched his left hand, where he had received the vaccine in recent weeks. It hurt, he said, and he wasn’t going to cane it. But he was convinced that it was safe, and it would protect him and his loved ones from getting sick.
“They have read all this stuff online, from various news sources, which is misleading. But then they meet me, like someone has shot, and I can give them some real answers, ”said Mr. Mateos. He said that many people cited articles in Spanish-language versions of Russian state-backed media networks, Sputnik and Russia Today. “They are very low on American vaccines. People read those stories and do not want to take shots. “
As the two men were leaving, Mr. Rodriguez shouted that he would get the bullet that week. They made sure they had the phone numbers and websites they needed to register, and continued down the road.
“I think I’ll get it later this week,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “I do not make promises, but I think they have persuaded me.”