New BBC 'Documentary' about the Unvaccinated, already shown to be Inaccurate, weeks before airing
Unvaccinated with Professor Hannah Fry makes false claims about the number of unvaccinated.
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Unvaccinated Citizens, your reconditioning treatment has been scheduled for 20 July, 9pm on BBC 2. Please make sure you attend or we will reduce you social credit score by 200 points.
I joke…I hope.
What is true is that on Wednesday 20 July at 9pm, a new documentary, called Unvaccinated, with Professor Hannah Fry will be airing. Hopefully it will be an unbiased look at why people decided not to have the Covid-19 vaccines but I don’t hold out much hope.
The BBC, when announcing the programme wrote this teaser.
Covid-19 is on the rise again in the UK. After multiple lockdowns and more than 197,000 deaths, experts are warning we’re now entering a fifth wave of the pandemic. But why are so many people in the UK still yet to receive a single dose of the vaccine?
In this timely, eye-opening investigation commissioned by BBC Factual for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, due to air on Wednesday 20 July at 9pm, Professor Hannah Fry seeks to understand why a portion of the population remain unvaccinated against Covid-19.
Professor Hannah Fry is a British Mathematician who worked on the data that helped bring the UK out of its first lockdown. Following the largest UK-wide survey since the vaccine rollout began, she’s on a mission to get behind the headlines and find out what the nation thinks today.
To fully explore this complex and deeply divisive debate, Hannah will bring seven unvaccinated participants together under one roof to unpack the long-held opinions, beliefs and fears that have prevented them from getting the vaccine. Together, they will come face to face with leading experts, confronting the latest science and statistics to emerge in the field and dissecting how misinformation spreads on social media.
At the end of the experiment each contributor will be asked if what they have learned has changed their mind, and whether they will now take up the vaccine. Scientists say we are likely to face more pandemics, and more vaccine roll outs - what will it take to convince those who are unvaccinated to get their first Covid-19 vaccination?
Tom Coveney, BBC Commissioning Editor, Science, says: “With Covid infections on the rise again, there couldn’t be a more important time to examine the reasons why so many adults are still not getting the vaccine.
“It’s an issue that has torn families and workplaces apart, arguing over the science, the misinformation and the many different ways we’ve all been affected by the pandemic. It’s an explosive debate that goes to the heart of modern life and growing mistrust in the establishment.”
Craig Hunter, Creative Director of Factual, STV Studios, says: “The Covid vaccine is one of the most divisive health debates of recent years and this documentary explores a range of viewpoints in an open and sensitive way.
“Moving beyond the often misrepresented debate, this programme reveals why some people remain vaccine hesitant and, equally, what advocates of the vaccine can learn from those who’ve rejected it.”
Unvaccinated, a 1x60’ for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, is made by STV Studios. It was commissioned by Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Science and Natural History. The Executive Producers are Craig Hunter and Jo Roe, the Producer/Director is Rob McCourt, and the Commissioning Editor, Science, is Tom Coveney.
However, this text has already been amended. As Professor Norman Fenton points out, the original text looked like this.
According to the BBC, their experts on the show and numerous other officials in the UK, 8% of the population remain unvaccinated. However, using the latest information from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and as Clare Craig notes, this is completely false.
Almost 30% of the English population is still completely unvaccinated. If you just look at adults then this figure is just under 20%. The only way for the 8% figure to be factually accurate is if they said only 8% of over 50s remain unvaccinated. Ironically this “eye-opening investigation” was commissioned by BBC Factual - not a good start guys!
After being called out by Professor Fenton, the BBC announcement was quickly amended so it now says “a portion of the population remain unvaccinated” instead of 8%.
However, there are still many articles which are using the original text, including tweets from the BBC Press Office and Royal Institution.
But the question remains, why is this 8% figure being bandied around? Is it an innocent mistake (which keeps happening over and over again) or is this misinformation from the nudge unit to pressure people into getting vaccinated? If you think you are part of a fringe minority you are more likely to follow the crowd and get vaccinated, even if you don’t really want to. But if you realise a third of the country feels the same way as you, you won’t be so quick to change your mind.
Another, more sinister reason, is that using a small unvaccinated population makes a huge difference to vaccine efficacy statistics. Professor Fenton uses the following example to explain.
If the true proportion of unvaccinated is 10% that means 200 out of 100,000 unvaccinated died (that's a mortality rate of 1 in 500), while 800 out of 900,000 vaccinated died (that's a mortality rate of 1 in 1,125). So the mortality rate in the unvaccinated is much higher than that of the vaccinated.
If the true proportion of unvaccinated is 30%, that means 200 out of 300,000 unvaccinated died (that's a mortality rate of 1 in 1,150), while 800 out of 700,000 vaccinated died (that's a mortality rate of 1 in 875). So the mortality rate in the unvaccinated is much lower than that of the vaccinated.
So using an incorrect figure for the unvaccinated population makes mortality rates look higher for the unvaccinated, leading to the false conclusion that the vaccine has prevented deaths.
I will watch the programme next Wednesday and hope, for the sake of the BBC, that it is in fact unbiased and shows both sides of the argument. It claims that it will explore “viewpoints in an open and sensitive way”.
However, I don’t hold out much hope. The programme will take seven unvaccinated participants to face “leading experts, confront the latest science and statistics to emerge in the field and dissection how misinformation spreads on social media. At the end of the experiment each contributor will be asked if what they have learned has changed their mind, and whether they will now take up the vaccine.”
Already, it sounds less like a documentary and more like an unvaccinated reconditioning experiment. But again, I will reserve judgement.
And finally, why is this ‘documentary’ even necessary now. Apparently, “with Covid infections on the rise again, there couldn’t be a more important time to examine the reasons why so many adults are still not getting the vaccine”.
I would suggest, with 70% of the population vaccinated, including 80% of adults, it would be more appropriate to examine WHY Covid infections are rising?
Yes, maybe the problem isn’t the unvaccinated (especially if you think only 8% of the population is unvaccinated). Maybe, just maybe (whisper it, so as not to attract attention), the vaccines don’t work like you think they do. Maybe time to interview some experts and confront the latest science and statistics that show vaccines don’t stop infection or transmission. Everyone knows this now because everyone knows vaccinated people who have Covid. But apparently, this memo hasn’t reached the BBC yet.
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