Pandemic and infodemic go hand in hand in the world and apparently, in Turkey, where anti-vaxxers and skeptics raise their voices on social media. Repeated reassurances by top health authorities and experts seek to convince the public to get a jab against the deadly coronavirus, though it remains voluntary.
The scale of the outbreak and the devastation it has left behind appear to have convinced more and more people to consider the vaccine. A survey by the Istanbul-based research company, Genar, highlights the increasing public approval of COVID-19 vaccines. The pro-vaccine stance is steadily growing amid a barrage of conspiracy theories spread virtually everywhere on social media. At the same time, there has also been confusion over whether a new strain of the virus that emerged in several countries would be immune to vaccines already developed and in development.
Genar President Ihsan Aktaş told the Turkish language daily, Sabah, that people’s trust in vaccines rose to a rate of around 70% from around 50% and this rate is expected to increase. “People are increasingly more conscious about the disease and measures taken to prevent it from spreading. Our first question in the survey was whether they were afraid of being infected and 70.7% of participants said yes. We also see a decline in the number of people who did not take the pandemic seriously, people who believed it was caused by a lab-grown virus and people who thought the outbreak was exaggerated. The public knows the virus is really dangerous and could become more so if measures are abandoned. Interestingly, the rate of people who are scared of the virus is near the rate of those who are willing to be vaccinated,” Aktaş said.