Vaccine and climate change misinformation

Where do people get their misinformation on these important subjects?

Misinformation on climate change comes mostly from campaigns run by the very wealthy fossil fuel industries. The misinformation on COVID vaccination seems to have a very different source: it seems to be driven by a form of epidemic hysteria, similar to the old and equally irrational fear of 'wind turbine syndrome'.

This page has been written from an Australian point of view, but it should also be useful for non-Australians.

This page was started 2021/11/25
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©

This is a work
in progress

Climate science misinformation

In 2017, Australia's ex-prime minister Tony Abbott gave the annual lecture for the UK’s principal climate science denial campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). (See These Climate Science Deniers are Spreading Misinformation about the Australian Bushfires; written by Mat Hope for DeSmog, 2020/01/09.)

Elsewhere, quoting from an article titled Finding Climate Misinformation written by Deborah David for Cosmos, 2021/11/16:

"Monash University research fellow Dr John Cook and colleagues from the University of Exeter, UK, and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, trained a machine-learning model to automatically detect and categorise climate misinformation.

Then they reviewed 255,449 documents from 20 prominent conservative think-tank (CTT) websites and 33 climate change denial blogs to build a two-decade history of climate misinformation and find common topics, themes, peaks, and changes over time."
The big oil companies, Exxon in particular, and the coal industry have all been spending millions trying to discredit renewable energy and downplay the damage done by the burning of fossil fuels. It is the burning of these fossil fuels that is widely recognised as the main cause of climate change, ocean acidification, sea level rise and ocean warming. Those who control the fossil fuel industries don't want people to know that the air pollution from the burning of those fuels kills millions of people world-wide each year.

COVID19 vaccination misinformation

At the time I am writing this I am 76 years old. When I was a young lad I recall that my mother was terrified of polio; it was a terrible disease that killed many children and crippled far more. One of my friends, near my age, has lived by far the greatest part of his life with some minor damage caused by contracting polio when he was a child. Jonas Salk developed one polio vaccine in 1955 and Sabin developed another that came into commercial use in 1961. I don't remember which I had, nor exactly when, but I'm sure it would have been as soon as my parents could arrange it.

A vaccine has been available against smallpox since 1796. Before vaccination the disease used to kill up to 35% of the people who caught it. In the early years of the twenty-first century smallpox has been eliminated because of vaccination.

Other diseases that people can now be vaccinated against:

  • Cholera
  • Covid-19

    Is the huge success of vaccination at least the partial cause of resistance to COVID vaccination?

    The highly contagious deadly diseases such as smallpox and the common childhood diseases: polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps and chickenpox have all become relegated to history because of the success of vaccination. No longer do half the children die before reaching their fifth birthday due to one or another of the childhood diseases.

    Scarlet fever was also a killer. It has been controlled by antibiotics and reducing the numbers of infectious people.

    Has this all made people in the twenty-first century complacent?


    Joint statement

    Joint statement – AMA & Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges, 2021/05/20: "The AMA and members of the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) have said getting the COVID vaccination is the only pathway back to a more normal life."

    Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines

    Is it true? Are COVID-19 vaccines not effective?, Australian Government Department of Health, 2021/11/25.

    "No. Both the Pfizer (Comirnaty) and AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccines are very effective at stopping people from becoming very sick if they catch COVID-19.

    The vaccines have been thoroughly assessed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and found to be effective."

  • Diphtheria
  • Encephalitis (Japanese)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Influenza (FLU)
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal conjugate (serogroups A,C,W,Y)
  • Meningococcal serogroup B
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Pneumococcal Pneumonia
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella
  • Shingles
  • Tetanus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Typhiod
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Yellow Fever
The world's medical authorities and the world's governments have assured us that the risks of side effects from COVID vaccines are far smaller than the protection that they provide.

Yet, is spite of all the proof on the efficacy of vaccination, many people don't trust COVID-19 vaccines!

Quoting from an article titled "Online Australian anti-vaxx groups grow by nearly 300%" on news GP written by Anastasia Tsirtsakis, 2021/05/18:
"To help tackle misinformation, the Australian Academy of Science has launched a guide about the science of immunisation."


"Global research has shown willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has risen over time, except in Australia."

All the world's experts in disease and epidemics support vaccination. Why so many Australians don't trust COVID vaccines is quite difficult to understand. Perhaps it is at least partly because Australians have rightly learned to mistrust our recent governments, particularly those of Abbott and Morrison.

An interesting article was written by Shannon Bond for NPR ('National Public Radio', USA; updated 2021/05/14): "Just 12 People Are Behind Most Vaccine Hoaxes On Social Media, Research Shows."

Quoting from the article:

"Researchers have found just 12 people are responsible for the bulk of the misleading claims and outright lies about COVID-19 vaccines that proliferate on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The 'Disinformation Dozen' produce 65% of the shares of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms," said Imran Ahmed, chief executive officer of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which identified the accounts."

The fear of COVID vaccination is similar to the fear of 'wind turbine syndrome' that ran its course in Australia from 2010 to 2014

Before wind power was fully established as a main-stream clean energy generation technology a very few people were very effectively spreading the belief that if a wind farm was built near you it might cause you to become ill. There was never any evidence for the reality of wind turbine syndrome, but this didn't stop people believing the scare campaign. In all something over 220 symptoms and diseases were blamed on wind turbines.

Wind turbine syndrome was a form of epidemic hysteria; the equally irrational fear of COVID vaccination seems very similar. Looking back, the fear of 'wind turbine syndrome' seems (and was) quite ridiculous. I suspect that in ten years when we look back at the fear of COVID vaccination it will seem equally foolish and ridiculous.

Related pages

Related pages on external sites...

Vaccine misinformation

Just 12 People Are Behind Most Vaccine Hoaxes On Social Media, Research Shows; written by Shannon Bond for NPR ('National Public Radio', USA)

Climate change misinformation

Finding climate misinformation; an article written by Deborah David for Cosmos, 2021/11/16

These Climate Science Deniers are Spreading Misinformation about the Australian Bushfires; written by Mat Hope for DeSmog, 2020/01/09.

Related pages on this site...

Reliable sources of information

My main sources of information

Opposition to wind power and coal

Science denial and climate change

Wind power opposition and climate science denial

Why accept climate science?