15. Jan. 2021

Covid-19 vaccines are finally becoming available in the Czech Republic. At first, they will be administered to doctors and medical personnel, people over 80 years of age and patients suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or people after organ transplantation. In the first three months of this year, 1.5 million vaccines are expected to arrive in the Czech Republic. Although vaccination is the only safe way to return to normal life, there is a large number of people who are still sceptical and do not want to get vaccinated. In the Czech Republic, there is a perpetually growing distaste for vaccination and a lot of fake news is spreading fast on the internet. The flood of disinformation further worsens the already negative effects of the coronavirus crisis. Scientists from the life science research institute CEITEC Masaryk University have therefore decided to jointly express their opinion about vaccination. On social media, they explain why they will get vaccinated and frame their Facebook profile photo with a specially designed "PRO-VACCINE" photo frame.

"Every day, a large number of new posts appear on social media that question the COVID-19 vaccine, but are not supported by concrete evidence. The rapid development of vaccines is often criticised, despite available facts that this vaccine has undergone all the necessary steps of testing and independent control," says structural virologist Pavel Plevka. Meanwhile many other countries have been trying to prevent disinformation for several months and are organizing massive information campaigns. However, in the Czech Republic, disinformation websites and posts are unfortunately the most active, discouraging Czech citizens from vaccination and thus endangering their lives. Semantic Visions, a Prague-based data analytics and risk assessment firm, which was hired by the Czech Ministry of Health to map the disinformation associated with coronavirus, found out that since about the end of September, fake news has increased significantly and aggravated the negative image of COVID-19 vaccines. Disinformation websites publish dozens of articles per day on the subject, and they are being further spread by Facebook groups with tens of thousands of followers. Nevertheless, people should not be subject to unfounded news and should not spread it further, because such an approach can indirectly threaten the whole society. Fake news could endanger not only the influenced individuals and their loved ones, but also delay the return to normal life for all fellow citizens.

Scientists from the research institute CEITEC Masaryk University are themselves determined to get vaccinated once COVID-19 vaccines are available, and they appeal to their fellow citizens to also consider the possibility of vaccination. The risks of the COVID-19 vaccination are minimal and comparable to other vaccines. Vaccination effectively protects against the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Approximately 5% of people who receive the vaccination may become infected with the virus, but are more likely to develop lighter forms of the disease than those who have not been vaccinated. "After 60-70% of the population receives the vaccine, we will be able to achieve collective immunity and to stop the spread of the coronavirus," explains structural virologist Pavel Plevka. "Consider the possibility of vaccination and contribute to the development of collective immunity and to a quick return to normal life for the whole society!" appeals Jiri Nantl, director of the research institute CEITEC Masaryk University.

Help us to raise awareness of the need for vaccination and contribute with your influence to the protection of the general public and to a quick return to normal life in the Czech Republic. Express your support on Facebook by adding the "PRO-VACCINE" frame to your profile picture.

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