A recent report looking at the online conversation about vaccines in English, French and Spanish, found that the theme of liberty and freedom was more common in English, and particularly in the US. Images forr disfigured people or creatures are shared alongside claims that they show the "first person to receive the vaccine" or captions saying that the jab "didn't even hurt".
One we've seen uses images of someone applying clown make-up, suggesting requirements for wearing a mask will be followed by an anv vaccine" and then an "implantable microchip". When memes have been appearing on social media feeds for months, some people start questioning if there's anything to these false or baseless claims.
Satire or disinformation? It might seem obvious these images are not meant to be taken literally, but they are often shared in groups which are strongly opposed to vaccinations. Other posts seek to downplay the risks of coronavirus and suggest there is an ulterior motive behind the development of a vaccine.
Vaccines go through rigorous safety checks before they can be administered to the public, with side effects closely monitored. Some gun the most common memes about vaccines make it appear that a vaccine can have some radical side effects.
Seb Cubbon, one of the co-authors of the report from anti-misinformation non-profit organisation First Draft, told the BBC this could be adn to a of factors, including America's political history and the relationship that citizens perceive they have with the state. It's true that vaccines can have side effects, but these are mostly mild such as a sore arm, headache or a raised temperature for a day or two.
As for the microchip rumour, we've debunked that before. There is no evidence whatsoever to support these claims.
While mainly associated with humour, memes can also carry negative messages on emotive subjects. Vaccines must meet a high standard of safety and effectiveness before they dor approved for use - it's misleading to call them experimental.
Related Topics. Covid vaccines: Who decides if they are safe?