You shouldn't be listening to Kanye about vaccines.
Saul Loeb / Getty
Kanye West seems serious about an inclination of the US presidency. After the billionaire rap mogul announced his intention to run on Twitter on July 4, West made it clear in a far-reaching interview with Forbes & # 39; Randall Lane on Wednesday that he was "in the race for victory". He also insinuated that he was against vaccinations and suggested that people with "the devil in themselves" want to "put chips in us".
West's presidential election was mocked and mocked by other celebrities and on social media. There are questions as to whether he can overcome the technical obstacles he is facing, such as the expired registration deadlines in several countries, to actually vote in November.
Nevertheless, there is currently a passion for more Kanye and his face is everywhere again – just in time for his new album.
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A recent Forbes interview has gained widespread popularity. Important publications describe the "political platforms" of West with some extensive quotations. In particular, West advocates an anti-vaccination stance that is not supported by scientific evidence, but reporting his views has largely reinforced rather than critically evaluated the comments made during the interview.
Election analysts believe West has missed its chance to have a significant impact in the 2020 race. But even if he is not a serious contender, his "untruth-based" policy should be exposed.
Especially if these lies are spread during the coronavirus pandemic – the worst public health crisis in a century – and at a time when over three million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States. While some look at Kanye's comments, moan, and carry on, real harm can be done here.
"People on the fence because of vaccinations could be influenced by celebrities who spread misinformation," said Sacha Stelzer-Braid, virologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Wake up, Mr. West
Here is Kanye's quote from the June 8 Forbes article:
"There are so many of our children who are vaccinated and paralyzed … So when they say that we can repair Covid with a vaccine, I am extremely careful. This is the sign of the animal. They want to put chips. They want us all do possible things to make it where we can't cross the gates of heaven. I'm sorry if I say it, the people who have the devil in them. And the sad thing is the sad thing is that we Not everyone can make it to heaven, there will be some of us who can't. Next question. "
West says he is "extremely cautious" when it comes to correcting the coronavirus pandemic with a vaccine, although most experts agreeuntil a vaccine becomes available. Vaccines are the most obvious way out of the pandemic, as they have proven to be one of the most effective ways to prevent disease through thousands of peer-reviewed articles.
But West appears to be based on conspiracy theories instead.
"There are so many of our children who are vaccinated and paralyzed, so when they say that we can repair Covid with a vaccine, I am extremely careful," he said.
It is unclear what West is referring to here, but it is likely that he is referring to the influenza vaccine. The weight of scientific evidence shows that serious side effects of the vaccine are extremely rare, although muscle weakness or paralysis can occur in about a million people – a condition known as Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). This is a condition that can also be caused by surgery or other viruses. This is not a revelation or a surprise: it is well established in the scientific literature. The risks exist and are known, but are considered to be minimal.
"The advantages of vaccination clearly outweigh the very low probability of side effects," says Stelzer-Braid.
"So many of our children" are not "paralyzed". This statement is not factual and should be labeled as such.
CNET contacted West but received no response before the release.
Perhaps more worrying is West's obvious trend toward the idea that vaccination is associated with implanting chips into the population.
"They want to put chips in us, they want to do all sorts of things to make it where we can't cross the gates of heaven," he said to Forbes.
West has either been misquoted about something unrelated to vaccines, or has said something embarrassing, uninformed, dangerous, and stupid. The idea that the vaccine is microchips may come from various conspiracy theories that emerged during the pandemic claiming that Bill Gates attempted to microchip people by vaccination. This conspiracy theory has been routinely debunked and proven to be completely wrong.
It's important to listen to those who are reluctant to vaccinate and clear up legitimate concerns – but West's stance seems extreme.
Vaccine hesitation has been cited as. The last thing we need is one of the most famous artists in the world to tacitly support it. When a vaccine becomes available, the mood against vaccinations can hamper efforts to effectively control and end the pandemic.
And since the pandemic has been overly politicized, we've seen how it can negatively impact messaging. Just look at the heated debate that has broken out about the use of face masks in the United States. There is a clear party-political divide over whether someone believes that masks should be worn.
Just as we don't turn to Ja Rule during a national tragedy, we shouldn't look at Kanye West to make unchecked vaccine comments, even as we tell the story of its potential political platforms. He is not a scientist or virologist or epidemiologist or public health expert. His ideas about vaccinations, COVID-19 and chips are not opinions: they are demonstrably wrong.
It could just be that West played us, the public and the media (and even Elon Musk) like a violin. It could be that he knows that these extreme, poorly informed attitudes will get people talking about him again. Maybe there is something in this plan that can frustrate a choice. Maybe it's just good advertising – it has shape in this room. And when I write that, I probably contribute to it. I understand that. It's the catch on the era of misinformation. By reprimanding misinformation, you also help spread it.
But sparks of misinformation and disinformation have to be sprayed off before they become conflagrations. I hope that's all for album number 10. I hope Kanye is playing us.