Vaccinations and Misinformation

Recently, New Zealand has been in lockdown because the Delta variant of Covid-19 was found in Auckland. Lockdowns are expensive and damaging to the economy, so we are feeling some urgency to get everybody vaccinated.

Critics of the government have complained that the rollout of the vaccine has been too slow, but other critics are afraid of the vaccine and say that it is too dangerous.

Those who are unhappy because the vaccine rollout was slow are eager to see people do more things to get everyone vaccinated. Buses are going out and offering vaccinations in the streets. Pop-up vaccination centres are offering mass vaccinations in car parks and stadiums. Māori and Pasifika health workers want to vaccinate families together so that people feel more confident.

However, some people are afraid to get vaccinated because of the stories they are hearing about the vaccine not being safe. Some people say that the vaccine has not been tested enough for safety. Some stories say that the vaccine has a microchip in it that will change your thinking. Some stories say that the vaccine will stop people from having babies. Other stories say that the vaccine will cause bad health and death. Many of these stories are being spread on social media. It is difficult to understand why anybody would make up these untrue stories about the Covid-19 vaccine, but clearly the stories are not true. At this point about 40% of New Zealanders are fully vaccinated, and they are okay.

Recently, data modellers have said that if New Zealand can get its vaccination rate up to 90%, society could become very safe. But as we push harder for people to get vaccinated, the fearful may only become more afraid. It is a difficult task to address misinformation that is based on distrust.


variant: version, type, strain

urgency: this is the noun for urgent. It means that something needs to be done quickly.

vaccine rollout: the process of bringing a vaccine to all of the people

pop-up: temporary. This term is used to describe business centres that will only operate for a short time.

critic: someone who criticises, or thinks about problems, someone who evaluates

confident: a feeling of safety

microchip: a small piece of computer that contains information. For example, your pet cat or dog may have a microchip put inside it as a form of ID.

spread: disseminate, broadcast, tell everybody

social media: online platforms such as facebook, twitter and tiktok are forms of social media

address: deal with, confront

misinformation: information that is incorrect; lies

make up: make a lie, imagine

data modeller: somebody who studies math, and uses data to make predictions about the future

distrust: the opposite of trust