Anti-vax groups are already pushing misinformation online about the coronavirus vaccine — raising doubts that it will be safe when it’s released months or years from now, according to a report Wednesday.
The fringe groups are peddling criticism and conspiracy theories including that the vaccine will be dangerous because of rushed clinical trials — and the bizarre accusation that Microsoft founder Bill Gates wants to inject microchips into people.
“Many of us are anxiety stricken at the thought of being forced to get a vaccine,” Rita Palma, head of the Long Island anti-vaccine group in My Kids, My Choice. “I will never choose to have a COVID-19 vaccine. I don’t want the government forcing it on my community or my family.”
But the movement she supports — which echos the controversial one opposing measles vaccinations — could have deadly consequences if it leads people to opt for bogus cures instead, health professionals said.
“Only a coronavirus vaccine can truly protect us from future outbreaks,” said Dr. Scott Ratzan, a physician and medical misinformation expert at the City University of New York and Columbia University.
“But what if the effort succeeds and large numbers of people decide not to vaccinate themselves or their children?”
In the past, vaccines for diseases such as polio, smallpox and measles have helped millions of people — but some skeptics reject the science, citing a distrust of modern medicine and government. Others cite religious freedom.
Vaccine skeptics have used several long-standing claims about vaccine safety to fit the current pandemic. When the first US case emerged in January, some falsely alleged the coronavirus was man-made to fuel a need for vaccines.
With Post wires
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