The Inoculation
How Anti-Vaccination Movements Make Money and Serve Hostile Actors

How Anti-Vaccination Movements Make Money and Serve Hostile Actors

October 8, 2021

After a wave of protests against vaccines and vaccine mandates in Europe, it is clear that despite very different policies across Europe, anti-vaccination movements that oppose them are remarkably alike. These movements are tightly linked, even though some of their connections are hidden. They amplify one another, and they have  elaborate ways to support their activities financially - from selling books on Amazon to offering legal services to anyone who feels they have been harmed by vaccination.

We had discussed this with disinformation researcher Dr Aliaksandr Herasimenka, so we thought we will come back to this interview and highlight his insights that explain the mobilisation around vaccines these days. A researcher at the Computational Propaganda Project of the Oxford Internet Institute, Herasimenka is a co-author of a paper on misinformation distribution on Telegram.

The interview was edited for brevity and clarity. You can read the Alliance for Securing Democracy's research on China's propaganda and search engines here. We ran such a search ourselves, and the clips in the beginning of the episode are from the results we got.

Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Please subscribe to our newsletter, and this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

The Inoculation’s September Round-Up:Vaccine Mandates, Idar Oberstein Mask-Murder And More

The Inoculation’s September Round-Up:Vaccine Mandates, Idar Oberstein Mask-Murder And More

September 24, 2021

A number of relevant articles, studies and data has recently come out, so Eva and Daiva review suggested readings for The Inoculation’s September round-up.

You can read these sources here:

And check out our episodes on vaccine mandates and disinformation in Slovakia.

Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Please subscribe to this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

Mandatory vaccination: Can it backfire?

Mandatory vaccination: Can it backfire?

September 10, 2021

In our first episode after the summer break we discuss mandatory vaccination mandates - something we have been researching before the COVID-19 pandemic began. In late 2020, we talked to former European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, who has a lot of experience with vaccine mandates. 

As a commissioner, Andriukaitis campaigned for vaccination measures around Europe. But before that, as Lithuania’s minister of health, he introduced vaccine requirements for children, following a measles outbreak in 2013. But when he left for the Commission, without strong backing from the top, the legislation became stuck in parliament and was eventually repealed. Another measles outbreak followed in 2019, and vaccination became an electoral issue in Lithuania. You can read more about Lithuania’s struggle with vaccine hesitancy in our article.

We also talk to Oxford Vaccine Group researcher Samantha Vanderslott, University of Exeter Professor Jason Reifler, and Italian pediatrician Lorenza Romani.

Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Please subscribe to this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation.

Social Media, Russia, Disinformation — GMFUS’ Bret Shafer talks to The Inoculation

Social Media, Russia, Disinformation — GMFUS’ Bret Shafer talks to The Inoculation

July 23, 2021

Summer special: 

Hi listeners. before we leave for our summer breaks, we are taking a look back at some of our most insightful conversations about disinformation and misinformation. This week’s conversation is with Bret Shafer, the Alliance for Securing Democracy’s media and digital disinformation fellow

Parts of the interview appeared in Episode 7. In this episode, Bret Shafer mentions misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. You can hear an explainer of the differences among them here.

Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Please subscribe to this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation.

‘Superspreaders of Malign‘ — Disinformation Expert Miriam Matthews Talks About Russian Information Manipulation

‘Superspreaders of Malign‘ — Disinformation Expert Miriam Matthews Talks About Russian Information Manipulation

July 9, 2021

In this episode, we talked to Miriam Matthews author of a report published in April called Superspreaders of Malign and Subversive Information. It describes the types of COVID-19-related malign and subversive information efforts with which Russia- and China-associated outlets appear to have targeted U.S. audiences from January 2020 to July 2020. 

Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

Disinformation in Spain, Heidi Larson, Social Media and EU Vaccine Hesitancy: The Inoculation’s Press Review

Disinformation in Spain, Heidi Larson, Social Media and EU Vaccine Hesitancy: The Inoculation’s Press Review

June 25, 2021

After listening to podcasts and reading numerous articles and reports on vaccine disinformation, Eva and Daiva have decided to share some of them. This is the first episode of The Inoculation's quarterly press roundup.

You can find episode 6 on Sputnik V here and episode 8 on vaccine geopolitics here. The story on vaccine mandates in Russia is here. In this episode, we refer to Heidi Larson's book and a profile on her, Coda Story's article on disinformation in Spain, First Draft's article on disinformation in West Africa, a Eurofound survey, and we listen to a new podcast

Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Please subscribe to this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

Russian Vaccine Disinformation and the Collapse of Slovakia’s Government

Russian Vaccine Disinformation and the Collapse of Slovakia’s Government

June 11, 2021

An elaborate media network promotes Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine by undermining the others, currently approved by the European Union. But what happens when an EU country decides to buy the Sputnik vaccine? Does vaccine disinformation adapt? Slovakia has recently started injecting the Sputnik doses it bought in winter. Daiva and Eva try to figure out what happened with help from Slovak journalist Lukáš Onderčanin.

To learn more about disinformation, you can read the EUvsDisinfo’s report. To learn how Slovakia succeeded in containing the first wave but then infections went out of control in autumn, you can read articles on Foreign Policy and The Atlantic and listen to our earlier episode on how the health ministry was combating misinformation on social media. You can read more about Slovakia’s Sputnik V purchase here and about the domino effect in the region here.

Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Please subscribe to this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

On the Fence — We talk to parents who are mulling vaccination

On the Fence — We talk to parents who are mulling vaccination

May 28, 2021

Across Europe, some countries are about to finish vaccinating the most vulnerable residents against COVID-19. It’s time to offer the jab to the general population -- and some are not only refusing vaccines, but also calling on others to shun them. Research shows that neither more fact-checks nor more experts will tilt the population’s attitudes towards vaccines.

In this collaborative episode between Are We Europe and The Inoculation, we look into how parents find their way with so much confusing information online, and what approach to vaccine hesitancy works.

You can read more about the politics of vaccination in Italy in Time magazine, Newsweek and Nature. You can find the study mentioned in the podcast here.

Our interpreter in this episode was Romina Spina. Our assistant producers were Andrei Popoviciu and Priyanka Shankar.

Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Please subscribe to this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation. You can also follow Are We Europe on all these social networks or become a member at areweeurope.com/member

Sputnik vs. the West: How the Russian government is discrediting Western vaccines

Sputnik vs. the West: How the Russian government is discrediting Western vaccines

May 14, 2021

In this episode, we took a look at how the Russian government and its media networks used their power and reach to discredit Covid vaccines made by Western companies and how it boosted its own Sputnik V Covid jab -- and how this might backfire. Experts say that attributing anonymous or obfuscated social media profiles is tricky, but they tend to be remarkably consistent and align with the goal of promoting Sputnik V at the expense of Western, but not Chinese vaccines.

We talked to Seb Cubbon, a research analyst at First Draft (one of their reports here), Miriam Matthews, senior behavioral and social scientist at RAND, Olga Dobrovidova, a Russian science journalist, Bret Schafer from the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), Peter Stano, lead spokesperson at the European External Action Service, which is the EU’s diplomatic service, and Peter Balasz, a former diplomat and professor emeritus, Central European University. 

You can read more about vaccine disinformation in the New York Times, CNN and other sources. A link to the transcript is here.

Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Please subscribe to this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

Disinformation, Misinformation, Propaganda: What’s the Difference?

Disinformation, Misinformation, Propaganda: What’s the Difference?

April 30, 2021

Disinformation, misinformation, propaganda: While reading the transcript of a an interview with a disinformation researcher, Eva and Daiva noticed that the distinction between misinformation and disinformation was often unclear to them. So in this episode of The Inoculation they look for clear definitions and helpful examples of disinformation, misinformation and propaganda.

Try your hand at EU vs Disinfo's quiz and see if you can distinguish them. You can find a helpful academic guide on these issues here. A summary of First Draft's research, mentioned in the episode, is available here.

Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Please subscribe to this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

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