COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and hesitancy

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Anti-vaccination activists and other people in multiple countries have spread a variety of unfounded conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines based on misunderstood science, religion, and other factors. Theories including overblown claims about side effects, a story about COVID-19 being spread by childhood vaccines, misrepresentations about how the immune system works, and when and how COVID-19 vaccines are made have proliferated, contributing to widespread vaccine hesitancy among the public. This has led to governments around the world introducing measures to encourage vaccination, which has in turn led to further misinformation about the legality and effect of these measures themselves.

Contents

Misinformation

Various false theories have spread in different parts of the world regarding the COVID-19 vaccines.

Prevalent COVID-19 skepticism

Prior to the vaccine launch many expressed skepticism that COVID-19 was a serious disease or that their countries had cases or high number of cases of the disease during 2020 and 2021. This prior skepticism that was pushed by the late President of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli is seen as a leading reason for vaccine hesitancy within the country. Magufuli declared Tanzania COVID free in mid-2020 and pushed herbal remedies, praying and steam inhalation as remedies to COVID. [1]

Delta variant and vaccines

As the delta variant of COVID-19 began to spread globally, disinformation campaigns seized on the idea that COVID-19 vaccines had caused the delta variant, despite the fact that the vaccines cannot replicate the virus. [2] A French virologist likewise falsely claimed that antibodies from vaccines had created and strengthened COVID-19 variants through a previously debunked theory of Antibody-dependent Enhancement. [3]

A related debunked theory, out of India, claimed that COVID-19 vaccines were lowering people's ability to withstand new variants instead of boosting immunity. [4]

Lack of lockdowns in countries

In countries not as severely hit by COVID in 2020, and which therefore did not experience lockdowns, the public health urgency of vaccination may not even be felt. [5]

Criminal

Fake vaccines

In July 2021, Indian police arrested 14 people for administering doses of fake salt water vaccines instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine at nearly a dozen private vaccination sites in Mumbai. The organizers, including medical professionals, charged between $10 and 17 for each dose, and more than 2,600 people paid to receive the vaccine. [6] [7] [8]

Interpol issued a global alert in December 2020 to law enforcement agencies in its member countries to be on the lookout for organized crime networks targeting Covid-19 vaccines, physically and online. [9] The WHO also released a warning in March 2021 after many ministries of health and regulatory agencies received suspicious offers to supply vaccines. They also noted that some doses of the vaccines were being offered on the dark web priced between $500 and $750, but there was no way to verify the distribution pipeline. [10]

Fake vaccination cards

In the United States, there was a surge of individuals either looking to purchase fake vaccination cards, alter medical records to show vaccination, or create fake vaccination cards to sell. In Hawaii a vacationer was arrested after it was discovered she had a fake vaccination card, a California doctor was arrested for falsifying patients' vaccination records, and three state troopers in Vermont were arrested for helping create false cards. [11] In August 2021 US Customs and Border Prevention agents seized 121 packages with more then 3,000 fake vaccination cards that had been shipped from Shenzhen to be distributed in the US. [12]

Check Point research released in August 2021 showed that fake vaccination cards were being sold via messaging apps and priced between $100 and $120 a card. Interpol announced that they were seeing a direct correlation between countries requiring negative COVID tests to enter the country and the increased number of provided fake vaccination cards. [9]

Medically based claims

Claims of altering human DNA

The use of mRNA-based vaccines for COVID-19 has been the basis of misinformation circulated in social media, wrongly claiming that the use of RNA somehow alters a person's DNA. [13] The DNA alteration conspiracy theory was cited by a Wisconsin hospital pharmacist who deliberately removed 57 vaccine vials from cold storage in December 2020 and was subsequently charged with felony reckless endangerment and criminal damage to property by Ozaukee County prosecutors. [14]

mRNA in the cytosol is very rapidly degraded before it would have time to gain entry into the cell nucleus. (mRNA vaccines must be stored at very low temperature to prevent mRNA degradation.) Retrovirus can be single-stranded RNA (just as SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is single-stranded RNA) which enters the cell nucleus and uses reverse transcriptase to make DNA from the RNA in the cell nucleus. A retrovirus has mechanisms to be imported into the nucleus, but other mRNA lack these mechanisms. Once inside the nucleus, creation of DNA from RNA cannot occur without a primer, which accompanies a retrovirus, but which would not exist for other mRNA if placed in the nucleus. [15] [16] Thus, mRNA vaccines cannot alter DNA because they cannot enter the nucleus, and because they have no primer to activate reverse transcriptase. For the same reason, mRNA vaccines are also not considered forms of gene therapy. [17]

Medical mistrust

In the United States vaccine hesitancy could be seen in certain social groups due to lack of trusted medical sources, traumatic past experiences with medical care and widespread theories. [18] [19] A research group in Oregon found that a large contributor to the reluctance of the Latinx/Latino/Hispanic population to be vaccinated was the feeling of being "guinea pigs" for the vaccine. [20] Similar distrust can be seen in the African American population where many see the history in the United States of using African Americans as experiments, such as the Tuskegee experiments and the work of J. Marion Sims, as basis to refuse the vaccine. [21]

A professor from the University of Warsaw in Poland, claimed that her research found that medical mistrust was higher in nations that had experienced Soviet-style communism in the past, and vaccine hesitancy could be seen if the countries introduced compulsory vaccination regulations. [5] Medical mistrust is also seen in Russia where one person described a lack of understanding what the vaccine is and claimed that if there was more statistics and research about the Sputnik V and other Russian made vaccines they would be more "loyal". She also stated that there was also mistrust over the lack of consistent medical information about the vaccine coming from many sources including the authorities of the region. [22]

Reproductive health

In a December 2020 petition to the European Medicines Agency, German physician Wolfgang Wodarg and British researcher Michael Yeadon suggested, without evidence, that mRNA vaccines could cause infertility in women by targeting the syncytin-1 protein necessary for placenta formation. Their petition to halt vaccine trials soon began circulating on social media. [23] A survey of young women in the United Kingdom later found that more than a quarter would refuse COVID-19 vaccines out of concerns for their effects on fertility. [24] Syncytin-1 and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein targeted by the vaccines are largely dissimilar, sharing a sequence of only four amino acids out of several hundred. [25] David Gorski wrote on Science-Based Medicine that Wodarg and Yeadon were "stoking real fear [...] based on speculative nonsense". [26]

False claims have been made[ by whom? ] that a vaccinated person can "shed" spike proteins, which allegedly causes menstrual irregularities or other harmful effects on the reproductive health of non-vaccinated women who are in proximity to them. These claims have been cited by the Centner Academy private school in Miami (which removed vaccinated teachers from classrooms, and was refusing to hire vaccinated teachers in the future), and businesses banning customers who are vaccinated. Gynecologist and medical columnist Jen Gunter stated none of the vaccines currently approved in the United States "can possibly affect a person who has not been vaccinated, and this includes their menstruation, fertility, and pregnancy". [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] In May 2021, Vice reported that some promoters of this claim have, ironically, recommended the use of face masks and social distancing to protect themselves from those who have been vaccinated. [32]

A protest against COVID-19 vaccination in London, United Kingdom Antivax protest in London 2.jpg
A protest against COVID-19 vaccination in London, United Kingdom

Risk of diseases

Bell's palsy

In late 2020, claims circulated on social media that the Pfizer‑BioNTech COVID‑19 vaccine caused Bell's palsy in trial participants. Several pictures which had originally been published prior to 2020 accompanied these posts, and were falsely labeled as these participants. [33] During the trial, four of the 22,000 trial participants indeed developed Bell's palsy. The FDA observed that the "frequency of reported Bell's palsy in the vaccine group is consistent with the expected background rate in the general population". [34] [35]

Debate is still ongoing about whether or not there is a causal link between any of the major COVID vaccines and Bell's palsy. [36] [37] [38] However, experts agree that even if an association exists, it occurs extremely rarely and the effect is small (~10 cases per 100,000 vs 3-7 cases per 100,000 in a typical pre-pandemic year). [39] [40] Bell's palsy is usually temporary and known to occur following many vaccines. [41] [42] [43]

Prion disease

A widely reposted 2021 Facebook post claiming that the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 could cause prion diseases was based on a paper by J. Bart Classen. The paper was published in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, whose publisher, Scivision Publishers, is included in Beall's list of publishers of predatory journals. Vincent Racaniello, professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University, described the claim as "completely wrong". [44]

Polio vaccine as a claimed COVID-19 carrier

Social media posts in Cameroon pushed a conspiracy theory that polio vaccines contained COVID-19, further complicating polio eradication beyond the logistical and funding difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic. [45]

Antibody-dependent enhancement

Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) is the phenomenon in which a person with antibodies against one virus (i.e. from infection or vaccination) can develop worse disease when infected by a second closely-related virus, due to a unique and rare reaction with proteins on the surface of the second virus. [46] [47] ADE has been observed in animal studies during the development of past coronavirus[ which? ] vaccines, but as of 18 March 2021 there had been no observed incidences in human vaccine trials. [48] ADE has been observed in vitro and in animal studies with many different viruses that do not display ADE in humans. [49] [46] Nevertheless, anti-vaccination activists cite ADE as a reason to avoid vaccination against COVID-19. [26] [50]

Aborted fetus material in the vaccine

In November 2020, claims circulated on the web that the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine "contained" tissue from aborted fetuses. While it is true that cell lines derived from a fetus aborted in 1970 plays a role in the vaccine development process, the molecules for the vaccine are separated from the resulting cell debris. [51] [52]

Spike protein cytotoxicity

In 2021, anti-vaccination misinformation circulated on social media saying that SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins were "very dangerous" and "cytotoxic". At that time, all COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use either contained mRNA or mRNA precursors for the production of the spike protein. This mRNA consists of instructions which, when processed in cells, cause production of spike proteins, which trigger an adaptive immune response in a safe and effective manner. [53] [54]

Misrepresentation of Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting Systems

USA

Claims have been made that data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reveals a hidden toll of COVID-19 vaccine related deaths. [55] [56] [57] [58] This claim have been debunked as a misleading misrepresentation by anti-vaccine sources. [55] [56] [59] [60] [57] [58] The VAERS is known to report and store co-occurring health events with no proof of causation, [55] including suicides, mechanical incidents (car accident [57] ), natural deaths by chronic diseases, old age and others. The websites Medalerts.org by the National Vaccine Information Center, a known and leading anti-vaccine center, and OpenVAERS.org have been linked to this misinformation. [57] Comparative studies of VAERS, which look at relative reporting rates, have found that the data does not support these claims. [61] [62]

Taiwan

News channel New Tang Dynasty Television spread misrepresentation of Taiwan's VAERS surveillance data to sugest the covid-19 vaccine killed more people than the virus. [63] [64]

Others

Similar misrepresentation of known "deaths after vaccination" as "deaths due to vaccination" have been mentioned in various countries, including Italy, Austria, South Korea, Germany, Spain, USA, Norway, Belgium, Peru. [65] This cases have been debunked as misrepresentation of the cases and data. [65]

Socially based claims

Claims about a vaccine before one existed

Multiple social media posts promoted a conspiracy theory claiming that in the early stages of the pandemic, the virus was known and that a vaccine was already available. PolitiFact and FactCheck.org noted that no vaccine existed for COVID-19 at that point. The patents cited by various social media posts reference existing patents for genetic sequences and vaccines for other strains of coronavirus such as the SARS coronavirus. [66] [67] The WHO reported that as of 5 February 2020, despite news reports of "breakthrough drugs" being discovered, there were no treatments known to be effective; [68] this included antibiotics and herbal remedies not being useful. [69]

On Facebook, a widely shared post claimed in April 2020 that seven Senegalese children had died because they had received a COVID-19 vaccine. No such vaccine existed, although some were in clinical trials at that time. [70]

Distorted factual accounts

A 2021 transparency report from Facebook found that the most popular shared link in the United States from January to March was an article from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about a doctor death two weeks after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The medical examiner later found no evidence of a link to the vaccine, but the article was promoted and twisted by anti-vaccine groups to raise doubt about vaccine safety. [71]

Magnetization

Some have falsely asserted COVID-19 vaccines cause people to become magnetized such that metal objects stick to their bodies. [72] Called by Republicans as an expert witness before a June 2021 hearing of the Ohio House Health Committee, anti-vaccine activist Sherri Tenpenny promoted the false claim, adding, "There's been people who have long suspected that there's been some sort of an interface, yet to be defined interface, between what's being injected in these shots and all of the 5G towers." [73]

Political divides and distrust in government

During lockdowns in Bulgaria, many Roma neighborhoods claimed that they were subject to lockdowns without proper explanations even though the level of infections to other parts of the country were higher than their neighborhoods. The communities already held a distrust of institutions and the government, and helped create an even more strained relationship and lack of trust. [5]

Vaccine hesitancy

A CDC Fact sheet about COVID-19 vaccines Facts about COVID-19 vaccines (English).pdf
A CDC Fact sheet about COVID-19 vaccines

In the United States, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy varies largely by region; however, regardless of region; medical professionals in the US are vaccinated at a higher rate than the general public they serve. [74] Estimates from two surveys were that 67% or 80% of people in the U.S. would accept a new vaccination against COVID‑19, with wide disparity by education level, employment status, ethnicity, and geography. [75] A US study conducted in January 2021 found that trust in science and scientists was strongly correlated with likelihood to get vaccinated for COVID-19 among those who had not already gotten vaccinated. [76] In March 2021, 19% of US adults claimed to have been vaccinated while 50% announced plans to get vaccinated. [77] [78]

According to The New York Times , only 28 percent of Black New Yorkers ages 18 to 44 years were fully vaccinated as of August 2021, compared with 48 percent of Latino residents and 52 percent of White residents in that age group. Interviewees cited mistrust of the government, personal experiences of medical racism, and historical medical experimentation on Black people such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study as reasons for their reluctance to be vaccinated. [79]

Countermeasures

COVID-19 passes

Some countries are using vaccination tracking systems, apps, or passports that are labeled as passes to allow individuals certain freedoms. In France, every adult must present a "pass sanitaire" before entering specific locations such as restaurants, cafes, museums, and sports stadiums after a new law was passed in July 2021. [80] Italy reported a 40% increase in the number of people who received the first dose of the vaccine after a governmental decree in September 2021 requiring a health pass for all workers either in the public or private sectors starting in October 2021. Similar passes have been put into effect in countries such as Slovenia and Greece. [81]

Encouragement by public figures and celebrities

Many public figures and celebrities have publicly declared that they have been vaccinated against COVID‑19, and encouraged people to get vaccinated. Many have made video recordings or otherwise documented their vaccination. They do this partly to counteract vaccine hesitancy and COVID‑19 vaccine conspiracy theories. [82] [83] [84] [85]

Politicians

Several current and former heads of state and government ministers have released photographs of their vaccinations, encouraging others to be vaccinated, including Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Zdravko Marić, Olivier Véran, Mike Pence, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama, Narendra Modi, Justin Trudeau, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris. [86] [87]

Elizabeth II and Prince Philip announced they had the vaccine, breaking from protocol of keeping the British royal family's health private. [82] Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict both announced they had been vaccinated. [82] In a call-in-television special President Vladimir Putin told listeners that he had received the Sputnik V vaccine and stressed that all the vaccines were safe. [88]

Media personalities

Today was a good day. I have never been happier to wait in a line. If you’re eligible, join me and sign up to get your vaccine. Come with me if you want to live!

Arnold Schwarzenegger [89] [90]

Dolly Parton recorded herself getting vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine she helped fund, she encouraged people to get vaccinated and created a new version of her song "Jolene" called "Vaccine". [82] Several other musicians like Patti Smith, Yo-Yo Ma, Carole King, Tony Bennett, Mavis Staples, Brian Wilson, Joel Grey, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, and Paul Stanley have all released photographs of them being vaccinated and encouraged others to do so. [86] Grey stated "I got the vaccine because I want to be safe. We've lost so many people to COVID. I've lost a few friends. It's heartbreaking. Frightening." [86]

Many actors including Amy Schumer, Rosario Dawson, Arsenio Hall, Danny Trejo, Mandy Patinkin, Samuel L. Jackson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Kate Mulgrew, Jeff Goldblum, Jane Fonda, Anthony Hopkins, Bette Midler, Kim Cattrall, Isabella Rossellini, Christie Brinkley, Cameran Eubanks, Hugh Bonneville, Alan Alda, David Harbour, Sean Penn, Amanda Kloots, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart have released photographs of themselves getting vaccinated and encouraging others to do the same. [82] [86] Dame Judi Dench and Joan Collins announced they have been vaccinated. [82]

Please and reassure yourself why getting vaxxed is the move. Save a life or two. Who knows?

Ariana Grande [90]

Other TV personalities such as Martha Stewart, Jonathan Van Ness, Al Roker and Dan Rather released photographs of themselves getting vaccinated and encouraged others to do the same. [82] [86] Stephen Fry also shared a photograph of being vaccinated; he wrote, "It's a wonderful moment, but you feel that it's not only helpful for your own health, but you know that you're likely to be less contagious if you yourself happen to carry it ... It's a symbol of being part of society, part of the group that we all want to protect each other and get this thing over and done with." [82] Sir David Attenborough announced that he has been vaccinated. [82] Dutch TV personality Beau van Erven Dorens got his vaccination on live TV in his late-night talk show on 3 June 2021. [91]

Athletes

Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar released photographs of themselves getting vaccinated and encouraged others to do the same; Abdul-Jabbar said, "We have to find new ways to keep each other safe." [86]

Specific communities

Romesh Ranganathan, Meera Syal, Adil Ray, Sadiq Khan and others produced a video specifically encouraging ethnic minority communities in the UK to be vaccinated including addressing conspiracy theories stating "there is no scientific evidence to suggest it will work differently on people from ethnic minorities and that it does not include pork or any material of fetal or animal origin." [92]

Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg have spoken about being vaccinated and encouraged other black Americans to be so. [86] Stephanie Elam volunteered to be a trial volunteer stating "a large part of the reason why I wanted to volunteer for this COVID‑19 vaccine research more Black people and more people of color need to be part of these trials so more diverse populations can reap the benefits of this medical research." [86]

Experiences of prior hesitant individuals and others

Many news articles, TV interviews and posts on social media appeared in 2021 to highlight either the anger of individuals whose children or immune compromised family members either caught Covid or were impacted by vaccine hesitancy or those who were vaccine hesitant and later tested positive. The Chief Medical Officer for England, Prof. Chris Whitty, tweeted in September 2021 that "The majority of our hospitalised Covid patients are unvaccinated and regret delaying their vaccines" with about 60% of all hospitalisations due to Covid in the UK being of unvaccinated individuals. [93] While some cases have allowed for more discussions to open up about the vaccine and the effects of the disease, some still have remaining hesitancy about the vaccination process, [94] others have expressed their regret for not pushing the vaccine or determination to get vaccinated. [95]

Vaccine lotteries

The Kremlin announced in 2021 that they were supporting a lottery that would give 1,000 vaccinated chosen individuals the equivalent of $1,350, the Mayor of Moscow also announced that the city would give away five cars every week to vaccinated residents. [88] In the United States many states such as Alaska, [96] Pennsylvania, [97] and Ohio [98] along with cities and Universities offered scholarships, money and physical items in lotteries with varying success on raising numbers of vaccinations.

Vaccine mandates

In France, since September 2021, all health care workers must have received at least one dose of the vaccine to continue working with any resistors suspended without pay. Additional worker groups that have been mandated to do so earlier in the year are military members and firefighters. [80]

In the United States many businesses, [99] schools [100] and universities, [101] healthcare providers, [102] and governmental and state departments have enacted vaccine mandates. [103] While many of the mandates allow for a person to opt out due to medical or religious reasons and be regularly tested, the federal mandate signed in September 2021 did not include this option. [103] Additionally some of the mandates are focused only on specific groups such as Rutgers University which only mandated the vaccine for students and health-care and public-safety employees. [101] The mandates have seen push back with a New York Judge temporarily blocking one for healthcare workers who claimed they could not opt out due to religious reasons, [104] and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich suing the Biden administration for its vaccine mandate for federal employees and private businesses with over 100 employees [105] Additional push back on vaccine mandates were seen at local levels with at least one Sheriffs department in California announcing they would not enforce any vaccine mandates as "the last line of defense from tyrannical government overreach", [106] while others have seen mass resignation. [107]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a United States program for vaccine safety, co-managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). VAERS is a postmarketing surveillance program, collecting information about adverse events that occur after administration of vaccines to ascertain whether the risk–benefit ratio is high enough to justify continued use of any particular vaccine.

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), founded under the name Dissatisfied Parents Together (DPT) in 1982, is an American 501(c)(3) organization that has been widely criticized as a leading source of fearmongering and misinformation about vaccines. While NVIC describes itself as the "oldest and largest consumer-led organization advocating for the institution of vaccine safety and informed consent protections", it promotes false and misleading information including the discredited claim that vaccines cause autism, and its campaigns portray vaccination as risky, encouraging people to consider "alternatives."

A vaccine adverse event (VAE), sometimes referred to as a vaccine injury, is an adverse event caused by vaccination. The World Health Organization (WHO) knows VAEs as Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI).

Sherri Tenpenny Anti-vaccination activist

Sherri J. Tenpenny is an American anti-vaccination activist who supports the disproven hypothesis that vaccines cause autism. An osteopathic physician, she is the author of four books opposing vaccination. A 2015 lecture tour of Australia was canceled due to a public outcry over her views on vaccination, which oppose established scientific consensus. A 2021 Center for Countering Digital Hate analysis concluded that Tenpenny is among the top twelve people spreading COVID-19 misinformation and pseudoscientific anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. She has falsely asserted the vaccines magnetize people and connect them with cellphone towers.

Children's Health Defense is an American activist group mainly known for anti-vaccine activities and has been identified as one of the main sources of misinformation on vaccines. It was founded and is chaired by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Established under the name World Mercury Project in 2016, it has been campaigning against various public health programs, such as vaccination and fluoridation of drinking water. The group has been contributing to vaccine hesitancy in the United States, encouraging citizens and legislators to support anti-vaccine regulations and legislation. Arguments against vaccination are contradicted by overwhelming scientific consensus about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. The group is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC) is Canada's main anti-vaccination group. It was founded in the 1980s under the name Vaccination Risk Awareness Network (VRAN) and adopted its current name in 2014. The group has been contributing to vaccine hesitancy in Canada, encouraging citizens to forgo immunization and legislators to support anti-vaccine regulations and legislation.

The Stop Mandatory Vaccination website and associated Facebook group are some of the major hubs of the American anti-vaccination movement. It was established by anti-vaccination activist Larry Cook in 2015.

COVID-19 vaccine Vaccine designed to provide acquired immunity against SARS-CoV-2

A COVID‑19 vaccine is a vaccine intended to provide acquired immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19). Prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic, an established body of knowledge existed about the structure and function of coronaviruses causing diseases like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). This knowledge accelerated the development of various vaccine platforms during early 2020. The initial focus of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines was on preventing symptomatic, often severe illness. On 10 January 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequence data was shared through GISAID, and by 19 March, the global pharmaceutical industry announced a major commitment to address COVID-19. The COVID‑19 vaccines are widely credited for their role in reducing the spread, severity, and death caused by COVID-19.

Misinformation related to vaccination and immunization circulates in mass media and social media. Intentional spreading of false information and conspiracy theories have also been propagated by the general public and celebrities. Misinformation related to vaccination fuels vaccine hesitancy and thereby results in disease outbreaks. Although opposition to vaccination has existed for centuries, the internet and social media has recently facilitated the spread of vaccine-related misinformation. Unsubstantiated safety concerns related to vaccines are often presented on the internet as scientific information.

COVID-19 vaccination in Israel

Israel's COVID-19 vaccination programme, officially named "Give a Shoulder", began on 19 December 2020, and has been praised for its speed, having given twenty percent of the Israeli population the first dose of the vaccines' two dose regimen in the span of three weeks.

COVID-19 vaccination in Canada COVID-19 vaccination programme in Canada

The COVID-19 vaccination program in Canada is an ongoing, intergovernmental effort coordinated between the bodies responsible in the Government of Canada to acquire and distribute vaccines to individual provincial and territorial governments who in turn administer authorized COVID-19 vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Some provinces have asked local municipal governments, hospital systems, family doctors and independently owned pharmacies to aid in part, or in full with vaccination rollout. The vaccination effort in full is the largest such immunization effort in the nation's history; it started in mid-December 2020 and is currently ongoing.

COVID-19 vaccination in Malaysia

The National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, abbreviated as NIP or PICK, is a national vaccination campaign that is currently being implemented by the Malaysian government as an approach in curbing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to end the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia by successfully achieving the herd immunity among its citizens and non-citizens that are residing in Malaysia. It is the largest immunisation programme implemented in the history of the country and it is being administrated by The Special Committee For Ensuring Access To COVID-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) since early 2021.

COVID-19 vaccination in the United States Plan to immunize against COVID-19

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the United States is an ongoing mass immunization campaign for the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first granted emergency use authorization to the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine on December 10, 2020; mass vaccinations began on December 14, 2020. The Moderna vaccine was granted emergency use authorization on December 17, 2020, and the Janssen vaccine was granted emergency use authorization on February 27, 2021. By April 19, 2021, all U.S. states had opened vaccine eligibility to residents aged 16 and over. On May 10, 2021, the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adolescents aged 12 to 15. On August 23, 2021, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine for individuals aged 16 and over.

COVID-19 vaccination in New Zealand Ongoing COVID-19 vaccine programme in New Zealand

COVID-19 vaccination in New Zealand began on 20 February 2021, and will continue throughout the year with the goal of vaccinating all willing New Zealanders aged 12+. As of 1 September, anyone in New Zealand is eligible to be vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccination in Singapore Plan to immunize against COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccination in Singapore is an ongoing immunisation campaign against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in response to the ongoing pandemic in the country. As of 25 October 2021, Singapore has administrated a total of 10,003,952 doses under its national vaccination programme.

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign began in Fiji on the first quarter of 2021 and will continue throughout the year with the goal of vaccinating all eligible Fijians. The government has made it mandatory for all eligible adults to take the COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccination in Ukraine

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Ukraine is an ongoing mass immunization campaign for the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine.

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the United States Reluctance by those living in the USA to be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the United States is the sociocultural phenomenon of individuals refusing or displaying hesitance towards receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the United States can be considered as part of the broader history of vaccine hesitancy.

COVID-19 vaccination mandates in the United States Mandates for people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.

COVID-19 vaccine mandates have been enacted by numerous states and municipalities in the United States, and also by private entities. In September 2021, President Joe Biden announced that the federal government would take steps to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for certain entities under the authority of the federal government or federal agencies.

Vaccine passports during the COVID-19 pandemic Use of immunity passports for COVID-19 vaccination

A vaccine passport or proof of vaccination are immunity passports which have been employed as a credential in a number of countries and jurisdictions as part of efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic via vaccination. They are typically issued by a government or health authority, and have consisted of a scannable barcode, QR code or are accessible in paper form or as part of a mobile app. They may or may not use a COVID-19 vaccine card as a basis of authentication. As of 5 October 2021, more than 46 percent of the world population has been vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine.

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