The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by an “infodemic” of false information and conspiracy theories since the virus first emerged nearly two years ago. Exposure to misinformation can reduce plans to get vaccinated, and may potentially put more people at risk.
This tension between those who are vaccinated and those who reject vaccines or dispute the science can divide families and rip apart friendships especially when loved ones are immersed in conspiracy theories about, for example, the origin of COVID-19 or mask wearing.
With Germany hit by a significant fourth wave of COVID infections, several German states are now trying new ways to tackle COVID denial and false information about vaccination. Building on research about disinformation, which refers to incorrect information that is deliberately spread, some states have created centers with free, confidential counselling for people who are either looking for help in dealing with family members who believe false information or just want to check facts.