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TRANSCRIPT:

00:00
A vaccine is the world’s best hope of overcoming the covid-19 pandemic
00:05
More than 20 vaccines are in development, globally…
00:10
…but as scientists move closer to success…
00:12
Possible breakthrough in the development…
00:15
…of a coronavirus vaccine
00:17
…there’s a problem
00:18
Freedom
00:20
A growing number of people say they won’t take a vaccine
00:24
I don’t want to inject anything like this into my body
00:26
This is linked to declining trust in scientific experts and political leaders…
00:32
Hypocrite
00:33
…problems brought into even sharper focus by the pandemic…
00:37
I call it covid bollocks
00:39
…and fuelled by a spiralling infodemic
00:43
Take off your mask
00:44
Anybody who has trusted the president has been lied to…
00:48
…and many people like my dad have paid with their life
00:53
This crisis of trust could have catastrophic consequences
00:57
So, what can be done to rebuild trust in vaccines…
01:01
…and to protect the world from future disasters?
01:04
All vaccine advocates need to be more tech savvy
01:06
We have science and evidence and right and fact on our side
01:30
This is the front line in the race to find a covid-19 vaccine
01:35
Professor Jonathan Heeney is one of those leading the charge
01:39
It has very much been a race against time…
01:42
…and sometimes I wish time could stand still
01:47
The professor has been developing vaccines for over 25 years
01:51
Now we have representatives of those viruses…
01:55
…that are closely related to SARS-1 or SARS-2
01:58
But finding one to fight a virus…
02:00
…which has brought the world to its knees, feels different
02:04
I do know people who’ve had covid and it’s a terrible, terrible death
02:08
It is an agonising disease
02:13
This project in Cambridge is about to begin clinical human trials…
02:17
…and the stakes could not be higher
02:19
If we don’t have a vaccine, we will be stuck in this lifestyle of isolation…
02:25
…social distancing, masks for a long, long time
02:31
For a vaccine to immunise populations effectively against covid-19…
02:36
…around 70% of people need to be willing to take it
02:40
Trust is absolutely critical
02:43
If only part of the population is onboard…
02:46
…we’re never going to bring this virus to its knees…
02:49
…and control this epidemic
02:54
Choose your side, choose your side
03:01
But, in the rich world especially…
03:04
…polls suggest that persuading people to take vaccines…
03:07
…may be as difficult as producing them in the first place
03:11
Are you gonna take it?
03:13
No
03:14
Are you gonna let your kids have it?
03:16
No
03:17
What are they?
03:19
Liars
03:21
Many of these protesters belong to a growing minority…
03:24
…who believe a covid-19 vaccine…
03:26
…would actually be harmful to their health
03:29
Do I worry about vaccinations, this one in particular?
03:32
Yes, definitely
03:33
It’s been rushed and imposed on us…
03:35
…and I know I want to have my choice…
03:37
…and I don’t want to inject anything like this into my body…
03:40
…and into my children’s body
03:45
Some here see a vaccine as part of a wider government conspiracy…
03:49
…to exaggerate the dangers of covid-19
03:53
We do not consent
03:57
Many of these people have lost trust in their government
04:07
Take off your masks
04:15
I call it covid bollocks, what do you call it?
04:18
Covid bollocks
04:20
We want the truth
04:21
And we will not give up until we get the truth
04:24
We’re not going to stand for being lied to by our governments…
04:29
…by people that we should trust
04:31
They want us to trust but we can’t trust them
04:41
The views being expressed here are extreme and belong to a minority
04:46
The proportion of the global population opposed to vaccines generally…
04:49
…is estimated to be well under 10%
04:54
But anti-vaxxers, as they are often called…
04:56
…are a vocal minority and their views are increasingly…
04:59
…influencing broader society
05:03
Distrust can be infectious
05:07
A poll carried out in America in September…
05:10
…found that only 36% of adults said they would take a vaccine…
05:13
…when one becomes available…
05:15
…with 64% saying they wouldn’t take one or weren’t sure
05:21
In another survey under four-fifths of people…
05:24
…in 16 countries responded positively to the idea…
05:28
…of taking a covid-19 vaccine, if proven safe and effective
05:35
In the context of covid, I think empathy is absolutely crucial
05:40
Professor Heidi Larson is an anthropologist…
05:44
…and a leading expert on why significant sections…
05:46
…of the global population feel hesitant about vaccines
05:50
She says a failure to confront the root causes of “vaccine hesitancy”…
05:54
…as she calls it…
05:55
…is driving more of these people towards anti-vaccination views
06:00
The majority of the public that is questioning…
06:04
…they’re hesitant, they’re anxious
06:06
These are people who have genuine questions…
06:10
…who are open to vaccination…
06:12
…but are feeling they’re not getting their answers…
06:15
…and then migrate more to the more anti-end…
06:20
…that seem more acknowledging their concerns…
06:23
…endorsing their concerns
06:26
Professor Larson argues that one of the historic problems…
06:30
…has been a failure by the medical establishment to listen…
06:33
…to the concerns of parents who have doubts…
06:35
…about inoculating their children
06:38
A lot of parents feel like they’re being judged…
06:40
…called names for even asking questions
06:45
And that’s not at all been helpful…
06:47
…in trying to support people in their decision-making…
06:52
…and positive sentiments towards a vaccine
06:55
It’s really fundamentally about trust, relational trust
06:59
Breaking news…
07:00
…testing has been paused for one of the leading…
07:02
…candidates developed by Oxford University
07:06
In September a volunteer from a leading…
07:09
…covid-19-vaccine trial was admitted to hospital…
07:13
…and the project was temporarily halted
07:16
Professor Larson says an opportunity was missed…
07:19
…to build trust with the public
07:22
I wish in the news instead of just this is normal process…
07:28
…safety events happen, we’re taking care of it…
07:31
…that the voice of a participant said…
07:35
…I appreciate the care and the attention…
07:37
…that the clinical team gave to me during this uncertain time
07:42
The message is sent that there is a caring team
07:46
That they’re not just putting vaccines in people to count numbers…
07:50
…and get to the perfect vaccine
07:52
That there is human empathy in this
07:57
The medical and pharmaceutical professions…
07:59
…have been far from immune to missteps…
08:01
…during the history of vaccines…
08:04
…and this has helped fuel today’s climate…
08:06
…of vaccine hesitancy and opposition…
08:09
…not least the legacy of a British doctor…
08:11
…named Andrew Wakefield
08:14
In 1998 he published research in a highly respected medical journal…
08:19
…claiming there was a link between a measles vaccine and autism
08:24
Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about patients in their studies
08:29
But his research turned out to be highly compromised
08:32
Studies have shown no connection between the MMR vaccination and autism
08:39
The journal eventually retracted the research…
08:42
…and Wakefield was struck off the medical register in the UK in 2010
08:47
But, many members of the public continued to see Wakefield…
08:50
…as a credible expert
08:52
This guy has been set up, it’s nothing but lies
08:56
And millions across the world still have reservations…
08:59
…about taking the measles vaccine
09:02
It’s symptomatic of a wider decline in trust in traditional experts…
09:06
…and governments in rich-world countries
09:18
Dr Jonathan Kennedy is an expert in global public health…
09:22
…and has investigated the link between trust in government…
09:25
…and authorities and hesitancy about vaccines
09:28
In this class we’re going to talk about…
09:31
…the question of how to think critically about global health
09:37
Dr Kennedy analysed voting data and surveys on public confidence…
09:41
…in vaccines across 14 countries
09:45
He found a broad pattern
09:46
Where levels of electoral support for populist parties were higher…
09:50
…levels of mistrust in vaccines also tended to be higher
09:54
Populist sentiment, this distrust of elites and experts…
09:57
…isn’t just isolated in politics
10:01
The forces driving scientific populism…
10:03
…are all very similar to those that drive political populism
10:12
Dr Kennedy argues there’s a strong relationship…
10:14
…between vaccine hesitancy and political, social and economic crisis
10:23
At a time when trust between people and politicians…
10:25
…has been breaking down…
10:27
…a number of countries have seen a resurgence of measles
10:32
You trying to punch me sir?
10:33
I did not
10:34
How dare you
10:35
Yes, you racist
10:36
It certainly wasn’t a coincidence that the UK last summer…
10:40
…lost its measles-free status
10:42
How about that
10:44
At a time where there was massive conflict over Brexit
10:49
During the covid-19 pandemic…
10:51
…the response of governments has further decreased trust…
10:54
…in public-health experts and politicians…
10:57
…not least in some countries with populist leaders
11:00
If test and trace isn’t improved significantly…
11:03
…there could be a second wave
11:05
In Britain, under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership…
11:09
…public-health guidance has changed constantly…
11:11
…and confusingly
11:13
We’re constantly working to improve that delivery system…
11:16
…buying PPE from around the world
11:20
Creating a sense that the government is failing and incompetent
11:24
In a huge policy reversal affecting hundreds of thousands of pupils
11:28
What’s more, senior political figures…
11:31
…have failed to follow their own health guidelines
11:34
Trust in the British government as a reliable source of information…
11:37
…about coronavirus fell from 67% in April to 44% in August
11:46
Don’t let it dominate you, don’t be afraid of it
11:51
In America, false information about the virus…
11:54
…has flowed from a president…
11:56
…whose contempt for truth has done more than anything else…
11:59
…to sow distrust in politicians and experts
12:02
One month ago today President Trump said…
12:05
…that the coronavirus was “dying out”
12:07
I’ve read a lot about Hydroxy, I happen to think that it has an impact
12:13
And then I see the disinfectant, it knocks it out in a minute
12:19
Researchers at Cornell University analysed…
12:23
…38m English-language articles about the pandemic
12:27
They found President Trump was the single largest driver…
12:30
…of misinformation around covid-19
12:38
This is me and my mum and my dad in New York…
12:42
…where I graduated from college
12:44
For some this has had lethal consequences
12:48
In June, Kristin Urquiza lost her father Mark to covid-19
12:54
65-year-old Mark was a life-long Republican voter…
12:58
…and Trump supporter from Arizona
13:00
He died after Arizona’s governor reopened the state…
13:04
…encouraged by the president
13:05
When the governor and the president went around…
13:09
…pushing a reopening strategy and saying to the public…
13:14
…it was safe if you didn’t have an underlying health condition…
13:18
…it was safe to go out, resume normal activities…
13:22
…my dad listened and thought it was safe
13:27
Mark contracted covid-19 after visiting a karaoke bar
13:31
His daughter says placing trust in his political leaders…
13:35
…proved a fatal mistake
13:38
Both the president and the governor of Arizona…
13:42
…are on record through that time, downplaying the virus
13:44
Anybody who has trusted the president has been lied to…
13:49
…has been misled and many people…
13:53
…like my dad, have paid with their life as a result
14:00
While the actions of populist politicians have undermined trust…
14:03
…in public-health advice and institutions
14:07
There is another factor which has driven this trend…
14:10
…the unprecedented speed at which misinformation can spread
14:20
In February, the World Health Organisation warned of twin dangers…
14:24
…a global pandemic but also an infodemic
14:28
A crisis in accurate public-health information
14:31
These insufferable globalist elitists like Bill Gates
14:37
He tells us we need a nationwide shutdown for months
14:40
This foundation is leading the charge to lower the world’s population
14:46
Much of this infodemic is concentrated online
14:49
Social-media users…
14:50
…who may not hold strong views about particular issues…
14:53
…can rapidly be exposed to misleading and extremist content
14:57
Folks, I think they’re trying to force a vaccine on all of us
15:04
Neil Johnson is a professor of physics…
15:06
…at George Washington University
15:08
His research shows how fake news can gain the upper hand…
15:12
…in the online battle for hearts and minds
15:16
What we expected to find was that there’d be a core of communities…
15:22
…maybe public-health agencies…
15:24
…that were promoting vaccines and establishment-health thinking
15:29
And that around this central strong core…
15:32
…there’d be other opinions, sort of extremes
15:35
But that’s not what we found
15:37
We found that that was actually sort of inside out
15:41
Professor Johnson’s team mapped conversations on Facebook…
15:44
…about vaccines between 100m people all over the world
15:49
They discovered that misinformation…
15:50
…was exerting more influence than accurate information
15:54
In some sense it’s almost like a network of trust…
15:57
…and if they flipped either way of course…
15:58
…they could become red, they could become blue…
16:00
…and that completely changes the battlefield
16:02
On this battlefield map…
16:04
…red represents Facebook pages and members…
16:07
…with anti-vaccination views and their spread over time
16:11
Blue represents pages and members with pro-vaccination views
16:16
While green signifies the all-important groups of people…
16:19
…who are undecided
16:21
The undecided greens are more engaged…
16:24
…with the red anti-vaccination clusters…
16:26
…than the pro-vaccination blues
16:29
The reds, they are completely entangled with the greens…
16:34
…the not sures, the communities of pet lovers…
16:36
…parents groups, organic-blueberry lovers…
16:40
…the ones that can tip the balance one way or the other
16:44
The worry is, as we see the greens and the reds entangle…
16:48
…what we’re really seeing is a beginning of an entanglement…
16:51
…of trust away from establishment science
16:55
Trust is the glue
16:57
Because in the end, when we trust the community…
17:00
…if they happen to start talking about vaccines…
17:04
…which is something that I don’t ordinarily think about…
17:06
…I will follow them in their thinking
17:10
This entanglement matters
17:12
Research has found that online exposure to recent misinformation…
17:16
…about a covid-19 vaccine may significantly affect intent to take one
17:21
And Professor Johnson believes this kind of content…
17:25
…will continue to spread online with the result that…
17:27
…anti-vaccination sentiment could become the majority view
17:32
Within a few years, red with the concerned greens, will rise…
17:37
…to essentially dominate that space
17:40
And it’ll be very hard to reverse that
17:43
So something different needs to be done now
17:48
Social-media platforms have increased their efforts…
17:52
…to stop the spread of untruths about vaccines and covid-19
17:56
In April, Facebook put warning labels…
17:58
…on about 50m pieces of content related to the virus
18:03
The platform partnered with reliable sources…
18:06
…like the WHO and the NHS
18:09
And in October, Facebook banned anti-vaccine ads
18:14
Yet campaigners argue the platform isn’t going far enough…
18:18
…and is failing to take down…
18:19
…the majority of harmful content about vaccinations
18:24
More broadly, Facebook’s own algorithm…
18:27
…undermines efforts to stem the tide of the infodemic…
18:30
…says Fadi Quran, from the online political campaign group, Avaaz
18:35
Facebook’s algorithm is sabotaging the efforts…
18:39
…of the platform to fix the misinformation problem
18:43
It cares about keeping individuals engaged, interested and online
18:47
Sensationalist, outrageous content, not the CDC guidelines…
18:51
…but QAnon, for example, gets more engagement…
18:55
…and hence the algorithm pushes it up in your news feed
19:00
One solution might be to detoxify the algorithm
19:04
What Facebook isn’t doing is redesigning its algorithm…
19:08
…redesigning its business model…
19:11
…to ensure that it’s not continuing to amplify this content
19:15
And this does not mean that the algorithm…
19:16
…should be designed to censor content
19:19
It just means that the algorithm would downgrade…
19:22
…instead of putting this malicious content…
19:24
…at the top of one’s news feed…
19:26
…the platform would make sure that it is at the bottom of the news feed
19:31
Social-media platforms could save lives
19:35
They have the power
19:36
This is a problem that Mark Zuckerberg…
19:38
…and Jack Dorsey could literally say…
19:41
…we’re going to solve this right now
19:43
Yet redesigning algorithms and tightening regulations…
19:46
…on tech companies is unlikely to get to the root causes…
19:50
…of mistrust in vaccines
19:52
To do that health bodies and experts…
19:54
…will need to be proactive about building relationships…
19:57
…with the public, in person, and especially online
20:04
According to doctors at this paediatric practice in Pittsburgh…
20:08
…the key to tackling distrust, and misinformation…
20:10
…is to fight fire with fire
20:12
Hello, it’s a yucky doctor coming in
20:15
How are you guys doing today?
20:16
Good, how are you?
20:17
I’m doing ok
20:19
While it might look like any other children’s surgery…
20:22
…the Kids Plus practice has its own in-house video production suite…
20:27
…getting messages out to patients constantly and quickly
20:31
Vaccine advocates are online using our voices…
20:35
…not the same way we are in the office…
20:38
…we’re saving lives, we’re protecting them against mistruths…
20:43
…and disinformation that can literally kill people
20:48
I think all vaccine advocates need to be more tech savvy
20:52
Kids Plus routinely post evidence-based videos…
20:55
…and information about vaccines on all major social-media platforms
21:00
I’ll start things off until we see our questions start rolling in again…
21:04
…hello to TikTok, hello to Facebook live
21:06
And this presence allows them to respond to questions…
21:09
…from parents and families, who feel uninformed and concerned
21:14
Our parents, our families are living their entire lives right here…
21:19
…on their phones, on their tablets, on their laptops, their desktops
21:23
If people hear good evidence-based information…
21:27
…before they hear the mis- and disinformation…
21:30
…that mis- and disinformation is much less likely to affect them
21:34
What you’re essentially doing is inoculating them against that bullshit…
21:39
…before it can take root in them
21:43
These doctors also argue that it’s vital to take on the stream…
21:46
…of highly organised and targeted viral attacks from anti-vaccine forces
21:52
The reality of online vaccine advocacy right now is if you post it…
21:58
…they will come, the anti-vaxxers will find you and they will attack you
22:03
They want to terrorise providers into silence
22:08
It’s a challenge the practice knows all about
22:11
Together we can prevent cancer in your children
22:15
In 2017 Kids Plus released a video…
22:18
…promoting an HPV vaccine that prevents cancer…
22:22
…and faced a barrage of hostility
22:25
They attacked our posts
22:26
They attacked our Facebook page
22:28
They attacked the private pages of our families…
22:31
…and our patients who defended us on our post
22:33
They came right after our reputation
22:37
Kids Plus has since created a toolkit for health professionals…
22:41
…and built a digital cavalry of global-vaccine advocates…
22:44
…who can quickly come to the aid of those under fire…
22:47
…from anti-vaccine forces
22:50
Now, as a vaccine for covid-19 grows closer…
22:53
…Kids Plus and its self-styled “keyboard crusaders”…
22:56
…are steeling themselves for a bitter, but all important new fight
23:01
There is no vaccine yet
23:03
There’s no herd immunity for covid
23:05
And look, this is what life is like without herd immunity
23:08
This is what life is like without vaccines
23:12
Past evidence suggests some people could end up taking vaccines…
23:15
…after saying they might not
23:17
But herd immunity to covid-19…
23:20
…may require around 70% take up of a vaccine…
23:23
…and just a six percentage point decline in acceptance…
23:27
…could endanger this goal
23:29
And for many, alarm bells are ringing
23:32
We’re losing in large part…
23:33
…because the anti-vaccine forces are much more passionate…
23:36
…and organised than we are
23:39
There are far fewer of them than there are of us
23:42
We have science and evidence and right and fact, on our side
23:46
That’s how we win