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Tinfoil hats: How many South Africans think COVID-19 is a ‘global hoax’?

Research from the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) has explored South Africa’s relationship with vaccine hesitancy further this week – and it turns up some disturbing COVID-19 theories.

Time to drop down a rabbit hole? Go on then: 

Debunking conspiracy theories

Just under one in five South Africans are convinced they won’t get a vaccine for COVID-19. Some cite safety fears, others believe testing has been rushed. Neither concern is particularly valid when weighed up against the threat of the virus, but it doesn’t take long before these beliefs provide a gateway to some more bizarre propositions.

NIDS, meanwhile, revealed that one in ten cases of vaccine hesitancy was linked to ‘general distrust’:

“In most cases, we found that respondents cited safety concerns without providing more concrete information about the rationale for such fears. One-tenth cited specific or general distrust as the reason for their concerns.”

How many South Africans believe COVID-19 is a hoax?

You’ve heard the quips by now. People get their jabs, post on social media, and say they’ve been ‘microchipped’, with some claiming to have ‘great 5G reception’. If you don’t get the reference, it’s fine, you’re really not missing out on anything. But you *might* be surprised by how many of our fellow citizens are invested in conspiracy theories.

  • – From the people surveyed who said they would not get the vaccine (18%), most said it was because testing was rushed.
  • – The impact of side effects and unfounded fears about the jabs’ safety were also listed as major concerns.
  • – Now it gets weird: Up to 6% of this cohort believe COVID-19 is a ‘global plot’. That’s not 6% of all people surveyed, but rather, it’s out of the hesitant 18% – making it 1.08% of ALL respondents
  • – Therefore, we can deduce that around one in every 92 South Africans believe the pandemic is a worldwide hoax.
  • – Between 1-4% of the group believe the nonsensical theory that a vaccine can ‘change your DNA’.
  • – But remember, that percentage out of EVERYONE surveyed would be a maxium of 0.72% of the population.

Provided by The South African

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