The coronavirus vaccines are coming, which means the coronavirus vaccine disinformation is coming, too. In fact, it is already here.
“Will New COVID Vaccine Make You Transhuman?” asks one conspiratorial article about the upcoming inoculations, feeding into a wackadoodle charge about the “reprogramming” of DNA. “This vaccine will not only ‘mark’ you like a cattle,” reads another website, “you will be injected with nano particules that will make you a Perfect antenna for the 5g frequencies.” And one similarly baseless narrative dates to the early days of the pandemic: that Bill Gates created the coronavirus itself in an effort to create mandatory vaccines.
President-elect Joe Biden has rightly put the public health crisis at the top of his priority list. This shift away from chaos and toward coherence should help to stem the uncontrolled flow of falsehoods that thrive amid uncertainty. Yet more needs to be done by a government whose leader would rather set the record straight than spend his day warping it on Twitter: The anti-vaccination movement learned its way around the web long before covid-19 struck, and the disinformation war it has started even before these lifesaving medicines are widely available must be countered with a preemptive defense.