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The Consequences of COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories ¦ Ep.10

16:23, Mon 31 Jul 2023

In this tenth episode of our podcast series, Professor Tom Sorell speaks to Dr Daniel Jolley, a social psychologist from Nottingham University, who  (with co-authors) has previously published on the effects of and appropriate responses to certain conspiracy theories. (See e.g. “The social consequences of conspiracism: Exposure to conspiracy theories decreases intentions to engage in politics and to reduce one's carbon footprint” British Journal of Psychology 2014 105(2014):35-56.) The discussion focuses on differences between conspiracy theories associated with Covid and early conspiracy theories casting doubts on the safety of the MMR vaccine in the wake of Richard Wakefield’s now discredited claims about the connection between MMR vaccination and both autism and bowel disease. The discussion mentions several conspiracy theories. The QAnon theory is to the effect that a hidden network of high officials and celebrities constitute a “deep state” in America with great malign influence on government policy. QAnon believers used to believe that Donald Trump was uniquely placed to dismantle the Deep State, and that some of its leaders would be arrested in 2021. The Sandy Hook conspiracy theory alleges that a mass shooting in an American primary school in Connecticut in 2012 was faked. Jolley also mentions the mosquito-borne Zika virus, whose origins and spread are addressed by some conspiracy theories (See e.g. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/ Professor Sorell refers to Marianna Spring’s two BBC podcasts on people under the influence of conspiracy theories in the UK, Death By Conspiracy? and Mariana in Conspiracy Land, both on BBC Sounds.

(MP4 format, 618 MB)


Episode 9 ¦ The Ethics of COVID-19 Booster Vaccines

18:42, Wed 25 Oct 2023

In the 9th episode, Joshua Kelsall from the University of Warwick speaks to Euzebiusz Jamrozik from the University of Oxford about the ethics of COVID-19 booster vaccines. They discuss the harms of booster vaccines, especially those associated with Myocarditis. They also discuss the ethics of vaccine mandates for young people.

(MP4 format, 424 MB)


Episode 8 ¦ Scientific Dissent and Public Trust in Science

14:17, Tue 23 May 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the issue of scientific dissent to the forefront. However, what constitutes scientific dissent, and when is it justified? In this episode of the Vaccine Hesitancy podcast, Dr. T.Y. Branch from the University of Cologne speaks with Prof. Kristen Intemann from Montana State University to explore the multifaceted nature of scientific dissent. They delve into how dissent within science can serve epistemic aims and foster critical thinking. At the same time, they also consider the circumstances under which dissent can hinder scientific advancement. By examining both the positive and negative aspects of dissent, they explore its role in the scientific community and its impact on public trust in science.

(MP4 format, 965 MB)


Episode 7 ¦ COVID-19 Vaccination & Parental Authority

13:10, Fri 5 May 2023

In the seventh episode in this series, Dr. T.Y. Branch at the University
of Cologne (CONCEPT) speaks with Dr. Stephen John, Hatton Lecturer in
the Philosophy of Public Health at the University of Cambridge. They
discuss vaccination policy in the UK for adolescents and children, the
challenge this can pose for parental decision-making, and how
vaccination might be seen as a moral duty. The conversation then turns
to the role of non-epistemic values in vaccine hesitancy. Economists,
philosophers and anthropologists disagree on many things, but not that
vaccine hesitancy is always misplaced. But might there be a gap between
what  scholars present as reasons for vaccine hesitancy and what the
actual reason is?

(MP4 format, 575 MB)


Episode 6 ¦ COVID-19, Fake News, Misinformation, and Inappropriate Dissent

10:04, Mon 24 Apr 2023

In the sixth episode of the podcast, Dr. T.Y. Branch at the University of Cologne (CONCEPT) talks with Prof. Dr. de Melo-Martín from Weill Cornell Medicine at Cornell University. Their conversation focuses on normatively inappropriate dissent, or manufactured dissent that falls under the broader category of fake news. One of its hallmarks is that it does not contribute to the epistemic value of the research. de Melo-Martín (and co-author Kristen Intemann) argue that this type of dissent is not easy to identify in a reliable way that would allow us to prevent the harms it causes. So what are the challenges to identifying criteria for normative inappropriate dissent and, what if anything can be done about it?

(MP4 format, 424 MB)


Episode 5 ¦ Conspiracy Theories and Epistemic Worlds

17:48, Wed 15 Feb 2023

In today's episode of the Vaccine Hesitancy Podcast, Dr Joshua Kelsall at Warwick University talks to Carl Miller Research Director, Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at the leading independent UK think tank DEMOS. They discuss the causes of belief in covid-19 conspiracies, and what we might try to do about it.

(MP4 format, 421 MB)


Episode 4 ¦ COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy, Disinformation and Misinformation

15:26, Wed 1 Feb 2023

In the fourth podcast of the series, Professor Tom Sorell from the University of Warwick speaks to Henry Tuck and Aoife Gallagher from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. They discuss online disinformation about vaccines and the different relations between disinformation and outright vaccine opposition, as opposed to vaccine scepticism and vaccine hesitancy. Among the questions addressed: what is the difference between being exposed to misinformation and being influenced by it? In what sense are the vaccine sceptical and vaccine opposed led to their views by online “research”? What are the different effects of private and public online discussion groups on the formation of vaccine- hesitant, vaccine-sceptical and vaccine-opposed views. Is it better or worse for public health and the accuracy of public discussion if the vaccine-sceptical and vaccine-opposed are driven from mainstream online platforms to fringe platforms?

Watch podcast on our YouTube channel.

(MP4 format, 667 MB)


Episode 3 ¦ Vaccine Hesitancy among Pregnant Women

16:05, Tue 15 Nov 2022

In the third episode of our podcast series, Dr Joshua Kelsall from the University of Warwick speaks to Dr Helen Skirrow, a clinical research fellow and public health specialist registrar at Imperial College London. They discussed Covid vaccine hesitancy and confidence among pregnant women in the UK. Vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women is multi-factored. Key reasons for hesitancy included a lack of availability of vaccines, conflicting sources of information about the safety and efficacy of vaccines for pregnant women, as well as women’s considerations of their obligations as mothers and parents, which are sometimes not taken seriously by doctors. Women are more likely to get vaccinated after pregnancy rather than during pregnancy. It was also noted that hesitancy among pregnant women is generally stronger among vulnerable groups, where difficulties in accessing vaccines become more prevalent. Dr Skirrow’ research was drawn from the following study on pregnant women’s views and experiences with covid-19 vaccines during the pandemic:

Women's views and experiences of accessing pertussis vaccination in pregnancy and infant vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic: A multi-methods study in the UK - ScienceDirect

You can also view Dr Skirrow’s presentation slides from her contribution to our Vaccine Hesitancy and Disinformation Workshop here.

Watch podcast on our YouTube channel.

(MP4 format, 1.1 GB)


Episode 2 ¦ Vaccine Hesitancy among Healthcare Workers

15:12, Tue 15 Nov 2022

In the second episode of our podcast series, Professor Tom Sorell from the University of Warwick speaks to Dr Mayuri Gogoi, a research associate at University of Leicester. They discussed Covid vaccine hesitancy among ethnic minority health care workers in the UK. Vaccine hesitancy was related to attitudes toward the National Health Service (NHS) as employer: career advancement for ethnic minorities was considered slower and this affected general trust in the NHS from health care workers, including trust in the vaccine. The poor provision of Personal Protective Equipment for health care workers by the NHS was another source of distrust concerning the vaccine. Dr Gogoi points out that vaccine hesitancy is compatible with taking the vaccine under pressure, and that many health care workers were vaccine hesitant though vaccine compliant. Dr Gogoi’s research was drawn from a large study called UK Reach, which was principally concerned with poorer health outcomes for ethnic minorities during the Covid pandemic.

Dr Gogoi reported on her findings from UK Reach at a presentation in June 2020. Her presentation can be found here.

Watch podcast on our YouTube Channel.

(MP4 format, 683 MB)


Episode 1 ¦ Understanding Vaccine Hesitancy Among Racial Minority Groups

14:53, Tue 15 Nov 2022

In this first episode of our video podcast series, Professor Tom Sorell from the University of Warwick speaks to Professor Shaun Treweek from the University of Aberdeen. The discussion centres on differences in vaccine hesitancy between UK ethnic minority groups that might otherwise seem to be similar. Higher rates of hesitancy are traced to, among other things, racist hostility of the majority UK population toward some minorities; the anti-immigrant policy of at least one previous UK government; and the tendency of some members of minority groups in the UK to adopt attitudes toward take-up from their countries of origin. More assimilated ethnic groups in the UK tended to have a higher take-up of the vaccine.

The interview with Prof. Treweek follows up on a presentation he gave in June 2022 to a workshop on research findings about Covid-vaccine hesitancy among a range of different groups from the UK population.

Shaun's presentation can be found here.

Watch podcast on our YouTube Channel.

(MP4 format, 1.1 GB)