Anti-vaxx protestors at a Covid-19 lockdown protest in Melbourne last Sunday. The anti-vaxx movement has been behind the spread of debunked movie Plandemic featuring discredited researcher Judy Mikovits. Photograph: Speed Media/REX/Shutterstock

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

As the U.S. pursues “Operation Warp Speed” to develop a vaccine amid the coronavirus outbreak, a fringe debate has reemerged. Fueled by the conspiracy video “Plandemic,” which went viral on Thursday, and potential mandatory vaccinations for coronavirus, the antivaccination movement has risen to the forefront of coronavirus opposition. Misinformation has been rampant since the outbreak started, and doubt surrounding vaccines has gained traction. Protests erupted over the weekend in Europe, with a large focus on a potential vaccination plan from Bill Gates.

Whistleblower and former U.S. health official Rick Bright expressed his concerns about a rushed vaccine before Congress on Thursday. He noted that the optimistic 12-18 month period to develop a vaccine was only possible “if everything goes perfectly. We’ve never seen everything go perfectly.” Bright filed a complaint last week highlighting issues with the White House response, including ignoring early warnings and pushing hydroxychloroquine as a treatment.

On May 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that highlighted the impact COVID-19 has had on regular vaccination rates. The report looked at order data from the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program as well as vaccine administration data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) from January-Mid April last year and the same period in 2020. The data showed a drop of about 1,000 vaccines administered per week to younger children. The numbers for older children changed more significantly, with only hundreds rather than thousands receiving vaccines per week. The drop in vaccination rates has sparked concern over an impending measles outbreak.

Over 140 world leaders signed an open letter calling for governments to demand “that all vaccines, treatments, and tests be patent-free, mass-produced, and distributed fairly” around the globe. France announced that any vaccine developed by pharmaceutical giant Sanofi would be made available worldwide, after the company’s CEO said it would be available to Americans initially.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

U.S. ‘Warp Speed’ vaccine effort comes out of the shadows – Science – 5/15/2020
Conventional wisdom is that a vaccine for COVID-19 is at least 1 year away, but the organizers of a U.S. government push called Operation Warp Speed have little use for conventional wisdom. The project, vaguely described to date but likely to be formally announced by the White House in the coming days, will pick a diverse set of vaccine candidates and pour essentially limitless resources into unprecedented comparative studies in animals, fast-tracked human trials, and manufacturing.

Number of Children Getting Routine Vaccines Plummets in Coronavirus Era – Breitbart – 5/13/2020
A study shows that the number of children getting routine vaccines to protect them from dangerous diseases has dramatically declined in the wake of the coronavirus. Authors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health institutions used vaccine ordering data through the Vaccines for Children Program, which provides government-purchased vaccines to about 50 percent of children in United States. The CDC’s Vaccine Tracking System and Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) vaccine administration data also was incorporated.

Vaccinating against viruses of the mind – The Psychologist: British Psychological Society – 5/15/2020
The first, of course, is caused by the Covid-19 virus. But hot on its heels, we have seen conspiracy theories and false information spreading in its wake. There was the idea that the pandemic itself was a hoax, and that it was being spread by the new 5G networks, leading vigilante gangs to attack mobile masts. Then there were the claims of miracle cures – such as the idea that drinking methanol could kill the virus, a belief that caused hundreds of deaths in Iran.

An Ex-Google Employee Turned ‘Whistleblower’ and QAnon Fan Made ‘Plandemic’ Go Viral – Vice – 5/14/2020
In April, an-ex Google employee turned QAnon fan and committed anti-vaxxer named Zach Vorhies was both publicly and privately crafting a plan to get Plandemic to the widest possible audience. In an unlisted YouTube video that circulated in right-wing circles before Plandemic was released, Vorhies discussed his own plan to make the film go viral, which included running Mikovits’ social media accounts: “I know how to run a campaign … so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to make her famous.” It worked.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

780th Military Intelligence Brigade (Cyber) on Twitter, 5/15/2020: Here’s how the US Army is racing to help get a coronavirus vaccine — “If we’re going to make a breakthrough, this is where it’s going to happen.” Dr. John Dye, chief of viral immunology for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Ben Swann on Twitter, 5/15/2020: One on One w/Dr. Judy Mikovits: Truth about her Arrest and the One Issue Media can’t “Debunk” #coronavirus #JudyMikovits #Plandemic

Sebastian Gorka DrG on Twitter, 5/15/2020: @JGilliam_SEAL explains why #Plandemic and other #Coronavirus conspiracy theories are a load of garbage. #AMERICAFirst @SalemMediaGrp

Frank Luntz on Twitter, 5/16/2020: A growing group of scientists and public-health officials are increasingly active and drawing large audiences on social media.They feel a moral obligation to provide credible info and steer conversation away from dubious claims like those in #Plandemic.

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