News headlines about an Australian actress from the UK who suffered a stroke “after the Covid vaccine” or “after receiving the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine” overemphasized one incident, giving no important context about the rarity of such a reaction. The family of actress Melle Stewart, who suffered a stroke two weeks after the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine in early June, said GoFundMe page that she had been diagnosed with vaccine-induced thrombocytopenic thrombosis (VITT) or thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). Despite her misfortune, the family added that VITT is “a very rare side effect of this particular vaccine” and that Stewart “has been and continues to be a proponent of vaccination”.
Excluding statistics illustrating the unlikely occurrence of VITT, or TTS, following the AstraZeneca vaccine, these headings run the risk of exaggerating the likelihood that people who are otherwise healthy and relatively young like Stewart will have serious health problems. after vaccination. According to the Australian Drug Surveillance Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), as of October 21, “there were 156 TTS cases estimated to be related to Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) with approximately 12.6 million doses of vaccine”.
British far-right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, called Tommy Robinson, recently called the Australian government “totalitarian” due to restrictions and blocking policies in the country of Covid-19. Robinson shared a reference to a Daily Mail report about Mel Stewart in the Telegram, saying severe reactions to the Covid-19 vaccine are not as rare as reported. The post was viewed more than 35,000 times after Robinson shared with his 137,000 followers.
Australian chef and conspiracy theorist Pete Evans, who is followed by nearly 50,000 Telegram users, reposted a message from a popular conspiracy-fueled website about alleged and unproven links that because Stewart was healthy, her stroke would be caused by the vaccine.
A report on the Telegram channel protesting against the blockade falsely claimed that the AstraZeneca vaccine would cause a stroke. While clots in the arteries after vaccination can cause a stroke, the likelihood of developing VITT or TTS in AstraZeneca recipients is extremely rare. The TGA also stated that the risk of TTS is unlikely to increase in people with coronary heart disease or a history of stroke.
News reports about the reactions of celebrities, such as celebrities and influential people after vaccination, can inadvertently be used as a powerful vector in promoting false information and conspiracy theories, as First Draft’s notes. companies against “wrong influences”. Inaccurate, and in this case unpleasant, a comparison of Australian actress Nicki Osborne between an alleged vaccine mandate in the workplace and a meme showing that Harvey Weinstein is aiming for actress Lindesay Lohan, could denigrate the Covid-19 vaccine and hamper the government’s vaccination efforts. – Esther Chan