April 2 is fact checking day. Understand how Covid-19 vaccines work.

Lies interspersed with part truths is what hypnotically fools people.

“The enemy of truth is not the outright lie, because an outright lie is easy to see and expose. The enemy of truth is the half-truth: lies coated in generalizations, which may have some truth in them but are actually meant to deceive. We should be more discerning and critical and on guard.

A lot of misinformation is circulating in closed spaces like Facebook messenger or Viber. Please be mindful about sharing.

A video, which I won’t show is circulating in closed spaces, says that vaccines could cause your life, but it is not showing the complete facts about vaccines. True, vaccines are not a guarantee that one will never get infected, but it can protect us from the severity of the illness or even death.

Read: Tackling misinformation in closed social media spaces

Dr. Angela Rasmussen, an affiliate at the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security in Washington, D.C. says vaccines “all are very good at preventing severe or lethal COVID-19. So they keep people out of the hospital, they keep people alive. And that’s really the major end points that we want for these vaccines. So I think that a lot of people can sort of fall into the trap of saying, “Well, this vaccine is better than this other vaccine because, look, its efficacy is higher.” She adds that “there is a lot of misinformation that has been out there just swirling around about the vaccines; that they were developed too quickly, that they may not be safe, as I mentioned before, that one vaccine is going to be more effective than another. All of this can erode people’s confidence in the process by which the vaccines were developed and make them more reluctant to take those vaccines.

A video circulating about vaccine shows half-truths. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. 

So the video (screencap above) was shared in our group chat and someone commented, “Please refrain from sharing unverified information or fake news propaganda. Vaccines are safe and are a component to getting out of this pandemic.”

Mary (not her real name), the video sharer replied: “That was just sent to me, and I shared it. What if some of the details ARE TRUE? I am sure even YOU, are not sure. Anyway, true or not, I am getting the vaccine!!”

Me: “We just don’t share anything given to us. Only share from credible sources. Half truth is still fake news. That’s the strategy of Anti vaxxers.”

Mary: “How will I know if it’s credible or not? Can you tell?”

Someone else replied back: “Pause. Don’t share. Verify. Verify with your doctor. Verify from credible sources. We need to be aware also of these credible sources so we can help debunk false news about the vaccine.

The FAQs from Mayo Clinic set the record straight on some myths circulating about COVID-19 vaccines.

I am sure you have seen some of these half-truths circulating in closed spaces. Eu vs Disinfo writes about “Telling half-truths is also lying”. Remember, selective, manipulative, reporting can be just as deceptive as blatant lying.

It must be noted that “any kind of medicine will have side effects; a large-scale vaccination project with hundreds of thousands simultaneously getting an injection will always cause unwanted effects. These cases are noted, analysed, studied; the methods for administering the vaccine are developed, adjusted, fine-tuned. The pro-Kremlin media distort, twist and exaggerate reports from reputable media along the “oath of deceptive disinformation”: The Half Truth, Little of the Truth and a Lot of Stuff besides the Truth.”

Resources

Know the facts about Covid-19 vaccines so you can convince friends or relatives who hesitate on the vaccine. The Pulse Asia survey, conducted from February 22 to March 3, showed that the greatest number of respondents at 61% would say “no” to getting inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine if the shot was available during the polling period. For fact-checking day, let me share resource materials on the facts about vaccines vs. Covid-19.

Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVID-19 VACCINES – Evidence Summary from The Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Inc., or PSMID.

Video: Covid-19 Vaccine myths debunked.

What a vaccine’s “efficacy rate” actually means and Why you can’t compare Covid-19 vaccines.

These infographics are useful for those who want to understand the vaccine in Pilipino.

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