A shot in the arm to misinformation

Dear editor,

We can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel — COVID-19 will soon become endemic as we vaccinate the vast majority of the population. Our health unit is among the leaders in vaccination with over 70 per cent of adults having received at least one dose. Everyone over 18 who received their first dose 28 days ago can now receive their second shot by rebooking, or attending a walk in clinic. This is excellent news. However, as we aim to vaccinate as many people as possible, we are faced with another pandemic: that of fake news, misinformation, and conspiracy theories. Emotionally vulnerable people fall into a cult-like rabbit hole of lies, conspiracies, and misinformation. We’ve seen this before with vaccines at large, with false claims that vaccines cause autism, can harm the growth of children, and cause a myriad of negative health effects. These claims, of course, are and always have been false. However, while the claims are nonsense, the effects of them have had very real consequences: outbreaks among the unvaccinated population of diseases such as measles, diphtheria, and whooping cough. We cannot allow this to happen with COVID-19.

We know scientifically that all four approved jabs in Canada are safe and effective. We know they have a positive impact on transmission, and we know that even in rare “breakthrough” cases, symptoms tend to be mild or non-existent. We know that this is our best shot (pun intended) to get us out of this pandemic. I would like to thank you, editor, for recognizing the threat of misinformation, and keeping conspiracy-laden editorials, backed by fake news and falsehoods, out of our local media. I encourage you to keep doing the difficult job of allowing legitimate opinions and views, while acting as a responsible “gatekeeper” to keep misinformation away from the masses. As to readers: get your shot!

Dawson Mihichuk