Senior lecturer Carmel O’Toole tackling the damaging myths surrounding Covid vaccines
Carmel O’Toole, senior lecturer in Media and Public Relations has been discussing the misinformation surrounding the Covid vaccine programme and the vast amount of complex detail the public has needed to assimilate since the pandemic began. The stories have been published in the Yorkshire Post and The Sheffield Star.
“We’ve all become amateur scientists as Covid has gone on,” says Carmel O’Toole.
A study by King’s College London found that one in three people in the UK had been exposed to messages discouraging them from getting a coronavirus jab, with a ‘notable minority’ believing conspiracy theories about Covid-19 vaccines. In response to this, O’Toole says it is ever more important for the public to have access to good, solid factual information. “I think there’s a combination of things happening, there are some pressure groups that are opposed to the vaccination for whatever reason who are spreading misinformation which is deliberately misleading, to genuine concerns from people, and I think it’s important to make the distinction between that.”
Carmel continues to discuss how the duty for providing factual guidance lies with the Government and bodies like the World Health Organisation, and encourages people to question headlines and be interrogative. She says “Social media is very clever, they target the information we receive based on how we’ve used them in the past. If it seems unbelievable, it probably is.”