How American Influencers Built a World Wide Web of Vaccine Disinformation

June 2, 2022

Last year, Saphinah Kenyando was struggling to decide whether to get vaccinated against Covid. Kenyando, who is 38 and teaches chemistry and biology at a high school in Kenya, had read about horrifying side effects—blood clots, long-term disabilities—that sounded worse than the virus itself. She watched a (possibly doctored) clip from former US President Donald Trump saying that the effects included gruesome facial deformities that develop as a person ages. And she wondered whether the rumors circulating on Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube were true—that a person could take the jab and drop dead shortly thereafter.

In addition to her academic role, Kenyando also serves as the school chess coach, a duty she takes very seriously. She believes the game imparts valuable lessons to students: Make the right move, and you’ll reap the benefits. Make the wrong one, and you’ll be forced to deal with the fallout. “Chess is life,” she says. “Every decision we make in life is about the game of chess.” That’s how Kenyando framed her own decision on whether to get herself and her children vaccinated against Covid. She decided to hold off until she had more information.

Read more at Mother Jones.

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