Saturday 19 September 2020

One in 10 Dutch believe a coronavirus vaccine could come with a micro-chip

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Some 10% of Dutch people believe in conspiracy theories which have sprung up around coronavirus, and this could be a risk when it comes to vaccination, research bureau Kieskompas has found.

A poll, conducted among a representative group of 8,000 people, showed supporters of right-wing parties are most inclined to believe the government and big pharma are up to no good.

Some 22% of people who vote for the far right PVV said the theory that people will be injected with a chip so their movements can be monitored is a credible one, while 20% of orthodox religious party SGP supporters believed this this might well happen.

Almost one in 10 Forum voor Democratie voters also said the theory had weight, as did 6% of SP backers. Voters for the other parties are giving negligible credence to the injected chip story or any other conspiracy theories, the poll showed.

Another hypothesis current among widespread among conspiracy theorists is that pharmaceuticals are deliberately spreading diseases like Covid-19 to make money from vaccines. This was believed by 26% of PVV voters, 17% of FvD voters, 13% of SP supporters and 10% of 50Plus supporters.

‘Extremists to the left and the right are more inclined to believe in conspiracies,’ researcher André Krouwel told Trouw, and people on the extreme right more so than on the left. ‘Extremely right-wingers mistrust all authority while the left believes society can be made to change,’ he said. ‘They also have more faith in science.’

Risk

While most people in the Netherlands disregard the theories, the 10% that accept them do could pose a risk.

‘It’s not a problem if 40% of American believe the murder of JFK was orchestrated. A pandemic is different. 10% is a substantial group which can undermine public health,’ Krouwel said.

‘Vaccination needs to be done across the board to achieve herd immunity. We are already seeing that if too many people flout the social distancing rules, the number of infections go up, for instance in the US where, of all things, the authorities have bruited it about the virus is a left-wing conspiracy!’

A recent podcast by rapper Lange Frans and Janet Ossebaard, a prolific spreader of conspiracy theories, in which they discussed killing prime minister Mark Rutte, is evidence that conspiracy theorists feel as if they are ‘freedom fighters who must stop the elite’, researcher and psychologist Jan Willem van Prooijen said. ‘But only a very few would actually be prepared to resort to violence,’ he said

However, the poll also showed that many respondents are open to both the official version of events and conspiracy theories. ‘That means they can be reached by the authorities, who need to be transparent about what is happening,’ Van Prooijen said. ‘The worst thing you can do is to call them nutcases and ignore them.’

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