The Infodemic, COVID-19 Vaccine, and Zombies

Posted by watchmen
May 31, 2021
Posted in OPINION

Infodemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is the excessive amount of false information from unreliable sources that prevails during a disease outbreak.

Every fragment of issue that makes up history has flak conspiracy theory and a piece of fake news hounding it in between.

Sometimes the wisdom in fabricating such stories is laudable. Other times they are simply hilarious, if not appalling. As we suffer the seemingly interminable crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, the infodemic is also becoming more prevalent. Sadly, the widespread impact of misinformation lassoes the community into a greater dilemma if it goes unresolved. 

Infodemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is the excessive amount of false information from unreliable sources that prevails during a disease outbreak.

The propagation of fake news on social media platforms today is disturbing. At the start of the pandemic, WHO recorded deaths pertaining to the proliferation of misinformation. According to the Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, around 5,800 people were put into hospitals while they accounted for 800 fake news death. Some of these deaths were from intentional drinking of alcohol-based cleaning products as a preventive measure against the disease.

At the start of the pandemic, the implemented health protocols were continuously questioned. Wearing of face mask and shield were sneered upon as it is just the government’s propaganda to support China’s furtive business agenda. Natural health remedies and treatments also surfaced where a good number of people hold out hope in quackery and unconventional medicines. And who would forget the wisdom behind the miracle of banana that prompted the fruit’s high public demand about a year ago?

We even have the reverberating dismay over the suggestion of washing face masks in gasoline to kill the virus. They said it was not delivered as a wisecrack statement because it is true to some point. And dang we are glad no Filipino is that gullible to believe a dimwit idea spoken from the lethargic pedestal. What is saddening is the fact that this government itself can fabricate misinformation like that amidst the ambivalent situation.

But then, we seem to leave that jeers in 2020. What we are currently facing is the hesitation of the community against the COVID-19 vaccines. People fear the predicament over the Dengvaxia a few years ago. Today many fear the possible scenario that will unfold with the novel COVID-19 vaccines especially those that originate from China.

Will we become zombies? Is it a biological weapon gearing at genocide? Or it is the gateway to the episode of end-time and thus, a devil mark?

Is this the time to be choosy and favor one vaccine brand over the other? Or shall we volunteer ourselves like lab rats figuring out the side effects in the long run?

A vast segment of these hesitations seems to lead us into the pathway of greater trouble.

Locally, the Negros province and Bacolod City welcome the health resolution with positivity. The Bacolod LGU even requested an increase in vaccine allocation and Governor Eugenio Lacson confirmed vaccination is starting to pick up in the province. It may mean that the inoculation had already benefited a higher percentage of the population. However, it does not rule out the percentage of the population who are disinterested in the jabs. Even the Provincial Health Office Medical Specialist Dr. Jessica Fama herself fears how fake news will affect the dole out of the vaccine.

The Department of Health (DOH) continuously encourages the public to verify the information before accepting it. They are also appealing to the media institutions to exercise caution in providing information and educating the public. The DOH also launched the #ChecktheFAQs on their website that answers mutual queries and clear common uncertainties.

Granting that misinformation can put a serious implication on health, people need to watch out and verify sources of information. The government, the mass media, and social media have a greater responsibility against the infodemic. But we as individuals should also be prudent in weighing in the facts from the rumors. Let us believe in zombies only when we get there./WDJ

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