Vaccine against coronavirus does not change human DNA
Slightly more than one-third of Montenegrin citizens (35%) believe that the world's elites created coronavirus in order to genetically modify people through the vaccine
PODGORICA, 27 JUNE 2021 – Slightly more than one-third of Montenegrin citizens (35%) believe that the world's elites created coronavirus in order to genetically modify people through the vaccine. This was shown by research conducted in March this year by the research agency Ipsos, on a nationally representative sample, with the support of the British Embassy in Podgorica and UNICEF.
First of all, citizens with a higher level of education do not believe this conspiracy theory. On the other hand, this conspiracy theory is more often believed by people who do not speak English well enough to understand information in that language on the internet, by citizens who do not trust science, or by those who say they have been exposed to much inaccurate information about coronavirus and were fortunate if they managed to find the information they were looking for, i.e. those who do not have highly developed media literacy skills.
A UNICEF young reporter from Montenegro, Bojana Zizic, used the media literacy knowledge and skills that she acquired through workshops on checking the accuracy of information, i.e. fact-checking, to analyse this conspiracy theory.
It can happen to any one of us that we unknowingly become transmitters of various news items whose sources and authors we have not checked. One of these items is based on the thesis that the coronavirus vaccine changes human DNA. After talking to experts from the Clinical Centre of Montenegro, but also after checking this information on the website of the World Health Organization and in credible media sources such as the BBC, which discussed this with the Oxford University, I came to the conclusion that information about the harmful effects of the vaccine against COVID-19 on human DNA is unfounded and untrue.
Her analysis was published on the UNICEF Montenegro website on a special page where other analyses of the accuracy of various information about the coronavirus, authored by young UNICEF Montenegro reporters, have been published.
The importance for the public health of any society of discussing conspiracy theories and raising awareness of the ways in which various items of information are checked is shown by data on their impact on citizen behaviour. Namely, among citizens who believe the conspiracy theory that human DNA is changed through the coronavirus vaccine, there is a significantly higher number of those who would not get the vaccine against coronavirus, as well as those who state that if they were to have a baby today, they would not want it to receive all the recommended vaccines, including the MMR vaccine.
The fact that strengthening trust in experts and in the relevant institutions is of crucial importance is best confirmed by data showing that, among citizens who believe the conspiracy theory that human DNA is changed through the coronavirus vaccine, there are more of those who are not sure whether to trust their child’s doctor, as well as those who do not trust health institutions and the University of Montenegro.
The nationally representative sample for this study included 821 respondents aged 18 or over across the country. Data collection was performed in the period from 24 to 26 March of this year, through a telephone survey, i.e. questionnaires of an average duration of 20 minutes. The key findings of this research are available on the UNICEF in Montenegro website.