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Anti-Vax Nurse Allegedly Injects 8,600 People With Salt Water

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People attend a protest rally in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020.

People attend a protest rally in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020.
Photo: Michael Sohn (AP)

A nurse in Germany has been accused of giving at least 8,6000 people saline solution when she was supposed to be administering the covid-19 vaccine, according to a report from the Guardian. The nurse reportedly posted anti-vaccine conspiracy theories on social media around the same time she was working for the Red Cross in March and April of this year.

The fake vaccine recipients are from the northern German district of Friesland and primarily elderly, a segment of the population which is most at risk of serious disease and death from covid-19.

Saline solution, which amounts to little more than salt water, isn’t harmful when injected in small doses, but being unvaccinated during a pandemic carries a large number of risks. Health officials are urging anyone who got vaccinated at the Roffhausen Vaccination Center to get vaccinated again.

According to some reports, the nurse is refusing to cooperate with police, which makes it even more difficult to determine how widespread her alleged deception was occurring.

“Since she remains silent with police, we do not know whether and to what extent she was manipulated during this period,” Claudia Schröder, a local public health official in Germany, said according to the New Zealand Herald.

The unnamed nurse has admitted to just six cases of tampering with the vaccines she was supposed to be giving up, but authorities believe it’s many more.

From the Washington Post:

The nurse, who has not been publicly identified, had initially admitted to giving six patients shots of saline solution after suspicions were raised in April. She said she did so to cover up the fact that she had dropped a vial of the Pfizer vaccine, German television channel NDR reported.

However, since antibody testing was carried out, a much wider group of people is suspected to have been affected. Police have also discovered that the woman, who worked with the Red Cross, had shared vaccine-skeptical posts on social media, NDR said.

The nurse reportedly posted anti-vaccine content to WhatsApp right around the time when she was working at the vaccination center.

“We then found three or four of her WhatsApp chats from April 21, right before the act, so we suspect that she did it,” Wilhelmshaven police officer Peter Beer told Euronews.

It’s not clear if the nurse has been arrested or charged with any crime.

Germany has fully vaccinated 55.61% of its population against covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University, the 23rd best rate in the world. But there are still large pockets of anti-vaccine activists in Germany who stage protests against any restrictions put in place to mitigate spread of the virus. The U.S. has vaccinated 50.91% of its population, putting it at 30th in the world.

Germany has announced a handful of new measures this week in an effort to get more people vaccinated. The government will stop offering free rapid covid-19 tests on October 11, forcing the unvaccinated to pay for their own tests out of pocket. But who knows how that’s going to work out.

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Facebook News Consumers Are More Anti-Vaccine Than Fox Viewers

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Image for article titled Facebook News Consumers Are More Anti-Vaccine Than Fox News Viewers, Study Finds

Photo: At Washington, DC Facebook headquarters, activists [the Real Facebook Oversight Board] lay body bags and call for Facebook to stop disinformation that leads to Covid deaths on Wednesday, July. 28, 2021 in Washington. (Eric Kayne/AP Images for All the Citizens Ltd.) (AP)

Joe Biden might want to consider re-backpedaling after backpedaling his accusation that social media companies [Facebook] are “killing people” by spreading vaccine conspiracies and bunk. A new study suggests that Facebook’s news consumers are inordinately unwilling to get the covid-19 vaccine.

Facebook fired back at President Biden’s comment earlier this month with a blog post and a study from Carnegie Mellon University’s Delphi Group. It reported that, of millions of Facebook users, 85% of U.S.-based users were vaccinated or planned to get vaccinated. “President Biden’s goal was for 70% of Americans to be vaccinated by July 4,” they sniffed. “Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed.” Biden later clarified that misinformation is killing people.

But the study didn’t account for people who consume news through Facebook, potentially exposing them to its massive disinformation mill and targeting them with the content that Facebook believes will get the most engagement. The new study of that user group nudges Facebook off its high horse.

Researchers from numerous universities, specializing in various public health and political science-related fields, surveyed 20,669 people from all 50 states and D.C., between June and July 2021. They found that 25% of people who only got news from Facebook in the previous 24 hours say they won’t get vaccinated, putting it above only Newsmax (41%) and slightly below Fox (23%).

Image for article titled Facebook News Consumers Are More Anti-Vaccine Than Fox News Viewers, Study Finds

An alarmingly high portion of people got their news (“news”) through Facebook. About a third (31%) had consumed news from Facebook over the past 24 hours, ranking Facebook as the second-largest news provider below CNN. Researchers didn’t define Facebook “news,” which could range from anything from user-generated content to Tucker Carlson to the New York Times.

Image for article titled Facebook News Consumers Are More Anti-Vaccine Than Fox News Viewers, Study Finds

As researcher David Lazer, political science and computer science professor at Northeastern University, pointed out to Gizmodo, Facebook’s numbers simply align with overall population data. “The 85% figure, depending on the threshold [the Delphi Group] used, roughly matches our numbers for the general population for being ‘potentially’ willing to get vaccinated,” he wrote. “Indeed, most surveys find about 15% of the population that is really hardcore that says they will never get the vaccine.”

Facebook and Delphi’s numbers (including people probably willing to get vaccinated) gel with the CDC’s report that nearly 70% of the U.S. adult population has received at least one dose of the vaccine and the Kaiser Family Foundation’s finding that 16% of U.S. residents don’t plan to get the vaccine unless forced to. Facebook’s estimate of 85% of users who got vaccinated or are willing to get it matches up.

Facebook could clean up the site, and activists and researchers have been telling it, for a year, about the culprits. And if it really wants to place the blame on users, it could stop algorithmically recommending the most “engaging” content, be it from Ben Shapiro or Aunt Charlene. Facebook will never be able to say it’s done everything it can to fight misinformation as long as it continues recommending content as a business practice. A March 2021 report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate found that 73% of vaccine disinformation originated from just twelve people. Today, the activist group Real Facebook Oversight backed up those findings with a report that over 83% of posts with the most engagement this quarter came from five disinformation spreaders.

That group also dropped a bunch of body bags at Facebook’s door this morning, pictured above. Facebook’s policy communications director Andy Stone tweeted that they’re out for “cheap stunts” and linked to the insubstantial blog post stating that 85% of U.S. Facebook users are vaccinated.

There’s no way to prove that people are dying specifically because of pieces of information they read on Facebook, but associating a primary vaccine disinformation source with death is not a performative exaggeration. As covid-19 case rates are doubling and tripling, especially in states with paltry vaccination rates like Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama, we’re reading daily reports of sufferers who wished they’d gotten the vaccine on their deathbeds. Doctors are pleading with the public to reconsider.

A pastor told Dallas-Fort Worth’s Fox News affiliate that he regretted believing disinformation after a brush with death. A 27-year-old who suffered a severe case said he’d believed he didn’t need the vaccine because he was young and fit. One mother who nearly died told ClickOrlando.com that she let disinformation-spreaders influence her with government conspiracy theories. A grieving mother recounted her 28-year-old son’s dying words to the Washington Post: “This is not a hoax, this is real.”

Facebook has historically chosen to sweep criticism under the rug with broad statistics about disinformation it’s removed and its number of moderators and pledges to change and add labels, but none of that translates to meaningful responsibility as a leading news source.

So Facebook’s hands-off attitude has reached Executive Branch intervention time. Earlier this month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that, fine, the Biden Administration will do the job. She said they’re tracking covid-19 misinformation on Facebook and are making a series of recommendations for the company, and days later, Facebook told Biden to quit “finger-pointing.”



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