The group said: “Other adverts featured Judy Mikovits’ anti-vaxx conspiracy theories, who featured in the notorious Plandemic film, and adverts placed by Robert F Kennedy Jr’s Children’s Health Defense campaign that promote health misinformation about both vaccines and 5G mobile phone signals.”
A new survey states that nearly one in six Britons will refuse a coronavirus vaccine when one comes available.
The findings come as large anti-vaccine sentiment spreads across social media, posing a threat to efforts contain the disease.
The poll was carried out by YouGov for the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), and found that 16% of British adults will ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ avoid a COVID-19 vaccine.
The survey of 1,663 people also found there was a difference in people’s sentiment towards the vaccine based upon if they got news from social media or traditional media.
Those who got their news from traditional media platforms were nine percentage points more likely to definitely or probably get a vaccine.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the 150 largest anti-vaccination social media pages and YouTube channels have collected about 8 million more followers.
The 400 outlets in the sample have a combined following of 55 million people.
On those pages, false conspiracy theories are often shared such as one that spread the rumour that Bill Gates created the coronavirus pandemic, that vaccines cause coronavirus and tests for the vaccine have caused women to become infertile.
The majority of the followers are on Facebook, despite Facebook officially opposing anti-vaccine content in 2019 with policies to reduce the spread of posts that have ‘exaggerated or sensational health claims’.
At the time, a Facebook product manager said: “People come together on Facebook to talk about, advocate for, and connect around things like nutrition, fitness and health issues. But in order to help people get accurate health information and the support they need, it’s imperative that we minimise health content that is sensational or misleading.”
Both Facebook and Twitter have enabled advertising opposing vaccination, despite bans on such promotions on both sites.
Adverts come from influences such as David Wolfe who is deemed by the CCDH as ‘an anti-vaccine wellness guru’ who promoted a popular panacea, colloidal silver, as “my #1 recommendation under the current crisis”.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We are working to stop harmful misinformation from spreading on our platforms and have removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of COVID-19-related misinformation.
“We reduce vaccine misinformation in News Feed, we don’t show it in search results or recommend it to you on Facebook or Instagram, we don’t allow it in ads, and we connect people with authoritative information from recognised health experts.”
A huge 50 million-tree forest is being planted across the North of England
This is amazing!
The North of England is set to see 50 million trees planted over the next 25 years.
It turns out the North has just 7.6% of woodland cover, significantly lower than the average of England, and this new planned forest could absorb 7.5m tonnes of carbon.
Many council leaders, including Sir Richard Leese in Manchester, are backing the ambitious project that will see a forest created, spanning 120 miles across the North.
The forest will connect Manchester with Liverpool and Lancaster, and see Sheffield, Leeds and Hull connected too.
The project is currently underway and the Woodland Trust is looking for private landowners who want to take part!
More than 120 Northern leaders and MPs have asked for the prime minister’s commitment to deliver the Northern Forest in a letter. They’ve also asked for opportunities to be looked at to support the development of green investment models.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester City Council declared a climate change emergency earlier this year and is working on a wide range of initiatives to enable the city to achieve its ambitious goal of becoming zero carbon by 2038.
“We are bringing forward an action plan which will explain how Manchester will achieve this ambitious target.
“The Northern Forest initiative, which would help absorb millions of tonnes of carbon, is entirely complementary to that wider goal and something we wholeheartedly endorse.”
Mayor of Sheffield Dan Jarvis, who is co-ordinating the Northern Forest campaign, said: “It will be transformational for more than 13 million residents, improving their health and wellbeing. It will help habitats thrive, a woodland culture to flourish as well as helping to tackle climate change, reduce the risk of flooding and create thousands of new jobs.”
Darren Moorcroft, CEO, Woodland Trust, said: “The Northern Forest represents the green lungs of the Northern Powerhouse. This pioneering project spearheaded by Woodland Trust and the Community Forests will deliver millions of new trees planted, and billions of pounds worth of economic, social and environmental benefits to the region.
“If we are to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises the world faces, internationally significant projects like the Northern Forest must be at the forefront of bold, ambitious domestic thinking.”
You can find out more and get involved on the Woodland Trust site and on the Northern Forest page.
Home Bargains, B&Q, Wilko and others give important update on masks and other Covid rules
Everything you need to know about their rules
Everything you need to know about shopping at DIY and discount stores in the pandemic…
Throughout the lockdown, DIY stores such as B&Q and Wickes as well as those selling essential items like Wilko and Home Bargains have been able to remain open.
They have, however, rules to follow to stop the spread of coronavirus and to protect staff and customers.
Here’s everything you can expect while shopping at them (it is mandatory to wear a face mask unless exempt in any shop in the UK).
Those who do not want to wear a mask inside B&Q’s stores have been told they can order online. Those wanting to shop in-store are reminded of hand sanitiser and told to not visit in more than groups of two.
A spokesperson said: “We are giving face masks to any customers who do not have one. If customers do not want to wear a face-covering in our stores, we are reminding them that they can always place an order for their essential items at diy.com for home delivery”.
Queuing systems are in place at Wickes as only 30 people are allowed in the store at any one time. Customers must follow social distancing queues inside and wear a mask.
At the tills, customers are asked to leave their trolleys in the designated space so staff can scan the items.
If you’re buying larger items you can bring another member of your household to carry them. Showrooms remain closed.
Customers are asked to visit alone where possible and to queue outside when stores are full. Customers can also expect a traffic light system in busier branches.
NHS, care workers, disabled and elderly customers have priority access.
Customers can expect marshals at the front of the stores along with floor markers to maintain social distancing throughout the stores.
All customers are asked to wear face masks and clean their baskets and trolleys at the disinfectant stations at entrances if they wish.
A spokesperson said Homebase is ‘continuing to ask all customers to wear a mask when shopping with us, unless medically exempt’. They added: “We are also introducing further signage in stores reminding customers of their role in helping to make shopping safe for everyone.”
Manchester’s mental health café launches new campaign to brighten up Blue Monday
Look out for the posters around Manchester
Feel Good Club and Manchester’s Finest have launched a campaign to spread positivity across the city on Blue Monday.
The third Monday in January is known as ‘Blue Monday’ and is often described as ‘one of the most depressing days of the year’.
Christmas is well and truly over, the excitement of New Year New Me has worn off and we’re left with dark, cold and short days.
To add on top of all of that is a third national lockdown and a global pandemic.
A mental wellbeing cafe, Feel Good Club launched in the midst of the pandemic with mental health at the heart of everything owners Kiera and Aimie do.
Collaborating with Manchester’s Finest, the two platforms have come together along with Jack Arts to create billboards and posters containing supportive messages.
Commenting on the campaign, Miranda Banfield of Jack Arts said: “Bringing inspiration to the streets and positivity to our communities is at the heart of what we do at Jack Arts.
“We are delighted to be a part of this important project, displaying these powerful messages across Manchester, in the hope they are seen by those who might need them most.”
Co-Founder of Feel Good Club, Kiera Lawlor-Skillen added: “Feel Good Club is all about spreading positivity and making sure that people know they aren’t alone in how they feel, whether that’s a good day or a bad day, so on blue Monday it was more important than ever for us to do something that could possibly bring a smile to someone’s face.”
Steven Pankhurst, a director at Manchester’s Finest, said: “Finest was created for the people and ecology of Manchester. At a time where we all face our own unique challenges, we want to show support and spread a bit of positivity to everyone in our city.”
You can see the posters across the city for two weeks from today (Monday January 18th).
For more positive vibes head to Manchester’s Finest to see the collaboration between them and Feel Good Club in the monthly series ‘This Month’s Positive News’.