‘We Are Talking About People’s Lives’: Dire Warnings Of Public Health Crisis As COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation Rages

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December 12, 2020

Hours after Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old grandmother from the United Kingdom, became the first person to get the COVID-19 vaccine, anti-vaxxers claimed she didn’t exist, that she was dead and that she was part of a Bill Gates scheme to implant microchips.

A USA TODAY analysis of one popular tweet claiming Keenan was a “crisis actress” shows how quickly this misinformation can spread. 

A tweet shared by @bankiegirl at 2:38pm UK time on Dec. 8 received more than 400 retweets from accounts sharing hashtags like #DoNotComply and #WeDoNotConsent. 

Before that time the next day, more than 475,000 Twitter users had been potentially exposed, a number calculated by adding up the total number of followers of each account that retweeted @bankiegirl’s post.

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