Thousands of anti-vaxxers have executed a social media attack on the nation’s leaders amid conspiracy theories over a COVID-19 vaccine.
Thousands of anti-vaxxers have executed a social media attack on the nation’s leaders amid conspiracy theories over a COVID-19 vaccine.

Conspiracy theorists mount COVID anti-vax campaign

There are growing fears swathes of Australians will refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with conspiracy theorists pushing misinformation in a social media "war".

Thousands of anti-vaxxers have executed a co-ordinated attack on the nation's leaders and politicians bombarding their Facebook pages with "pseudoscience".

Science Minister Karen Andrews said there was an "enormous risk" that people would believe conspiracy theories they read online and refuse a jab.

 

"It's just beyond the pale and disinformation or misinformation is dangerous and can lead to loss of life," Ms Andrews told the Herald Sun.

"In my role as Science Minister I'm actually just not prepared to sit there and allow these people to promote pseudoscience."

She said there could be a role for social media companies to play in ensuring fake news and conspiracy theories about the virus were not promoted.

Ms Andrews urged Australians to avoid advice promoted on social media and turn instead to official channels.

 

An anti-vaccination protester in Melbourne. Picture: Tim Carrafa
An anti-vaccination protester in Melbourne. Picture: Tim Carrafa

 

Monday night's digital protest was arranged on Facebook by prominent anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorists in Melbourne.

"This is about digitally waging war on what we, the people, have deemed harmful misinformation," the digital protest event read.

Victorian Senator Raff Ciccone, who received death threats during the co-ordinated hit, wanted the government to consider banning people who refuse future COVID shots from establishments.

 

A 5G conspiracy theorist at an anti-vaccination rally in Melbourne. Picture: Tim Carrafa
A 5G conspiracy theorist at an anti-vaccination rally in Melbourne. Picture: Tim Carrafa

"If you decide not to receive a vaccination you ought to bear the consequences of that decision," Mr Ciccone told the Herald Sun.

The federal government has traditionally avoided commenting on conspiracy theories to avoid giving them more airtime but Ms Andrews felt Monday's attack needed to be addressed.

Commenters claimed the government and media had invented the virus in order to force all Australians to be vaccinated and microchipped.

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tamsin.rose@news.com.au

@tamsinroses

Originally published as Conspiracy theorists mount COVID anti-vax campaign


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