A SURGE in anti-vaxxers could torpedo Britain’s chances of stopping coronavirus, a shocking study has revealed.
A third of Brits could refuse a life-saving Covid-19 vaccine because of conspiracy theories peddled online, a poll has found.
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A YouGov poll of 1,663 people found that 31 per cent either ‘will’ refuse to get the jab, or are unsure about getting one[/caption]
But scientists say some 82 per cent of Brits will need to get immunised to stop the killer bug in its tracks.
It means even if boffins discover a jab which works, it may not stop the spread of coronavirus.
Imran Ahmed, the boss of the Center for Countering Digital Hate which commissioned the study, blasted tech giants for peddling dangerous conspiracy theories.
He warned more Brits will die unless Silicon Valley is shamed into action.
There is simply no responsible justification for publishing lies and conspiracy theories about vaccines.
He fumed: “Our hope for a return to normal life rests with scientists developing a successful vaccine for coronavirus.
“But social media companies’ irresponsible decision to continue to publish anti-vaccine propaganda means a vaccine may not be effective in containing the virus.
“The price for their greed is a cost paid in lives.
“There is simply no responsible justification for publishing lies and conspiracy theories about vaccines.”
The YouGov poll of 1,663 people found that 31 per cent either “will” refuse to get the jab, or are unsure about getting one.
Among those who mainly get their news from social media sites the figure soared to a whopping 38 per cent.
Just 69 per cent of Brits said they expect to get the jab.
Boffins say 82 per cent of the population would need to be vaccinated to stop the pandemic in Britain.
The alarming finding comes amid a dramatic rise in the amount of anti-vax fake news being spread online.
Anti-vax conspiracy theorists have a staggering 57 million followers online across the UK and US, new research from the centre found.
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Outlandish lies, including claims Bill Gates created the coronavirus pandemic and that vaccines cause Covid-19, were found on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, the research found.
A Government spokesman said: “The science is clear – vaccines save lives, which is why we are leading a global effort to find a Covid-19 vaccine.
“Vaccine misinformation in any form is completely unacceptable and it is everyone’s responsibility to seek NHS advice, so that they have the right information to make the right choice.”
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