The social media space is replete with individuals who happen to be ‘experts’ on all issues and subjects that there are under the sun. Politics, geopolitics, health, science, art, economics, et al. These ‘experts’ know all of it like the back of their hand. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, has been forcing such individuals to share their unparalleled scientific and health-related expertise with the public. That they are making a complete fool of themselves in the process is largely visible, but they also seem to be playing a big role in spreading misinformation against Covid-19 vaccines.
One Dhruv Rathee, who runs a YouTube channel had asked his viewers as early as on April 24 to consume a steroid by the name ‘Biudesonide’. Excessive dosage of the said steroid can cause Mucormycosis or ‘black fungus’. The video by Rathee has clocked close to 2.5 million views on YouTube. Even if one fourth of the viewers took unprescribed doses of the said medication – it becomes very clear that one man alone is responsible for the spread of black fungus in India.
Meanwhile, journalists who continuously put their profession to shame are also resorting to wearing the expert hat every now and then. Siddharth Varadarajan of The Wire, in a tweet raised doubts about the Indian government’s move to increase the gap between two Covidshield doses from 4 – 8 weeks to 12 – 16 weeks. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being sold in India as Covishield, has shown enhanced efficacy when the gap between two doses is increased to a minimum of 12 weeks.
Yet, in a tweet, Varadarajan said, “If B.1.617.2 is the coronavirus variant spreading in India, and UK studies show two doses of Covishield are needed to protect against it, the Indian government’s decision to advocate delaying the 2nd shot for up to 16 weeks may need to be revised.
If B.1.617.2 is the coronavirus variant spreading in India, and UK studies show two doses of Covishield are needed to protect against it, the Indian government's decision to advocate delaying the 2nd shot for up to 16 weeks may need to be revised.https://t.co/QoAOFmR3NS
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) May 23, 2021
Barkha Dutt, meanwhile, echoed similar sentiments and said, “If two doses of COVISHIELD needed to protect us against mutant strain in India as the UK study now shows (one jab hardly offering significant protection) the long-extended gap between the two jabs makes less sense than earlier argued. In any case it seems product of shortage.” She was countered by many on Twitter for her aversion to science.
Very uninformed tweet , @BDUTT ! The increase in gap between Covishield doses was in fact done after UK studies showed increased effectiveness with a 12 week gap (90% plus) compared to the shorter 6 wk gap. Single dose has 76% efficacy until second dose at 12 weeks ! https://t.co/IPMoupo0cC
— Tuhin A. Sinha तुहिन सिन्हा (@tuhins) May 23, 2021
“A three-month gap between two AstraZeneca doses gives better protection – we developed our vaccine for equity, not profit’ “
Both India and the UK recently changed the interval between two AstraZeneca doses.https://t.co/QC6wF226W7
— Amrita Bhinder (@amritabhinder) May 23, 2021
New Public Health England Report on variants shows people vaccinated with one dose are only 34% protected against B.617.2 (India). (1) pic.twitter.com/6dg8LMW7eA
— Anthony Costello (@globalhlthtwit) May 23, 2021
Indians must stay away from nonsense peddled by serial propagandists on social media, as in times of a pandemic, their misinformation can cost lives. At this very crucial juncture, nobody can afford to fall prey to the baseless, unscientific propaganda of these pseudo-scientists.