How anti-vaccination misinformation has flourished during the Covid-19 pandemic

Anti-vaccine sentiment has been around as long as vaccines themselves.

What is startling about our figures is how anti-vaxxers have exploited the pandemic to expand their followers and how readily accessible the material is.It is also having a real world impact. Talking to people at the anti-lockdown protest in London last month, it was very striking how many people, who said they would not be taking the vaccine, also said they didn't trust 'mainstream media' and had got all their information on the vaccine online. 

They wouldn't have had to search hard either, despite pledges by the tech companies, our research found that only 1 of the 27 biggest anti-vaccine sites has been taken down.

Many of the most alarmist and false claims that you find on these sites, were cited by people at the protest as the reason they wouldn't be taking a vaccine that could save their lives.

The first Pfzier-BioNTech vaccines were injected on Tuesday Credit: PA

This is not to say that people do not have legitimate and genuine questions about the vaccine.

Social media is also being used in creative and innovative ways to address some of them. 

Anna Blakney is a scientist working on finding a Covid vaccine by day, in her spare time she is part of Team Halo which creates TikTok videos to answer people's vaccine doubts.

Rather than closing down debate, they tackle misinformation head on, giving people the data to better understand how the vaccines were created.

People should be curious about the vaccine. They should also be curious about exactly where they are getting their information from.