Are China and Russia Responsible for the Spread of Anti-Vax Sentiments?

By John Mac Ghlionn
John Mac Ghlionn
John Mac Ghlionn
John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. He covers psychology and social relations, and has a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation. His work has been published by the New York Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, and The Spectator US, among others.
January 19, 2022Updated: January 19, 2022


According to a recent Financial Times piece, Russia and China are responsible for anti-vaccine sentiments sweeping through a number of Western countries, including the United States.

Mikael Tofvesson, a psychological operations (PSYOP) expert, warns that “foreign aggressors” have worked tirelessly to “sow division by targeting areas of public concern such as crime, Covid vaccinations, the government’s response to the pandemic, and immigration.”

“Hostile states like Russia, China and Iran,” according to Elisabeth Braw, the author of the Financial Times piece, “have increased their use of disinformation and online propaganda to amplify anti-vax sentiment and foment political tensions in Europe and the US.”

Is she correct? Perhaps, but she provides zero evidence for her claims. To quote the late, great Carl Sagan, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Braw’s extraordinary claims lack the requisite extraordinary evidence.

Now, before going any further, it’s very important to state the following: Bad actors in Beijing and Moscow (and perhaps Tehran) may very well be fueling anti-vaccine sentiments. However, there’s reason to believe that the sentiments sweeping through the West are entirely organic. When assessing Braw’s claims, like all big claims, Occam’s razor, inaccurately paraphrased as “the simplest explanation is usually the best one,” should be applied.

In the Financial Times article, Braw, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, calls for governments “to inoculate the population against believing false information.” Ask yourself, what is misinformation but the spread of false or inaccurate information; and what is disinformation but the spread of false information deliberately designed to deceive.

Now, let’s apply Braw’s calls to “inoculate” the masses to the United States. For years, we have been assured that vaccines effectively stop people from catching or spreading the virus. But those assurances have proven to be empty ones. According to Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, vaccines do a pretty poor job of stopping people from catching or spreading the virus.

So, it seems, the very people Braw is calling on to stop misinformation and disinformation have played a role in the dissemination of fact-free narratives.

This is not to say that there are no benefits to vaccines; for some people, there most certainly are. Vaccines save lives. But government officials, especially in the United States, have done all in their power to silence the skeptics, the people who talk about the possible dangers associated with vaccines.

The likes of Dr. Peter McCullough, a renowned cardiologist, and Dr. Robert Malone, a renowned virologist and immunologist, have spoken at length about vaccine side effects. Yet they have found themselves deplatformed, demonized, and denounced—although their claims are backed by actual data. Instead of engaging both men in debate, there has been a concerted effort to silence these men. Why?

Epoch Times Photo
Dr. Robert Malone in Washington on June 29, 2021. (Zhen Wang/The Epoch Times)

The anti-vaccine sentiments that have gripped the West appear to be entirely valid. If in doubt, let me point you in the direction of various studies that document the association between mRNA vaccines and myocarditis, an inflation of the heart muscle, in children. Data out of Denmark, for example, confirms “what is already known about vaccine associated myocarditis—that it is rare, but it exists.” Although rare, severe myocarditis can permanently damage the heart muscle and even lead to heart failure.

Moreover, according to a study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, the most common side effects reported with vaccines include “pain/redness/swelling, fatigue, headache, fevers, and chills.” Serious side effects, although rare, include “shoulder injury related to vaccine administration, right axillary lymphadenopathy, paroxysmal ventricular arrhythmia, right leg paresthesia, and Bell’s palsy.” Yes, Bell’s palsy, a condition that can result in partial or full facial paralysis.

When considering such evidence—peer-reviewed at that—the reason for “anti-vax” sentiments become more understandable.

Also, we must question where we source our information from. Can the so-called arbiters of truth actually be trusted? Remember, for years, American citizens were told that Donald Trump was a Russian asset. Such claims, as we all know, lacked any evidence whatsoever.

Which brings us back to the Financial Times, a paper that has a history of publishing a number of “Trump is a Russian asset” stories, including this questionable piece of journalism. Should the boy who cried wolf, repeatedly and unapologetically, really be trusted? I’ll let you decide.

To conclude, anyone familiar with my writing knows that I am highly critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Although bad actors in Beijing and Moscow may very well be capitalizing on vaccine skepticism, exploiting it to their advantage, there’s every reason to believe that such sentiments would proliferate without their interference.

Could it be that Russia and China have become convenient boogeymen? After all, it’s much easier to blame foreign powers for the spread of bad information than it is to accept responsibility for the proliferation of lies and questionable narratives.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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