Anti-vaxx Facebook groups swell nearly 300%

The number of Australians following public anti-vaxx Facebook groups grew nearly 300 per cent during the pandemic, Reset Australia has found, in direct correlation with Australia's rising vaccine hesitancy rates.

Reset Australia’s report identified 13 public Facebook groups with users based in Australia and tracked their growth between January 2020 and March 2021.

During the research period, subscription to these groups grew by 280 per cent, and as of March 2021, they had a combined total of over 115,000 members, generating more than 2.66 million interactions.

Reset Australia noted the surge in online followers coincided with Australia's growing vaccine hesitancy. A University of Melbourne survey found between October 2020 and February this year, the percentage of Australians willing to get the COVID-19 jab fell by 8.2 per cent from 74 per cent to 66 per cent.

"Reset Australia's research shows a direct correlation between surging anti-vaxx misinformation on Facebook and Australia's growing vaccine hesitancy," said Chris Cooper, executive director of the Australian affiliate of a global body fighting against digital harms to democracy and society.

"Social media has supercharged conspiracy theories and misinformation, pushing some people into echo chambers where false information is all they see."

The research found engagement with the Facebook groups exploded during the initial national lockdown.

Mr Cooper said public groups like those Reset Australia monitored were often gateways to private groups which shared more radical and extreme content.

"Public Facebook groups are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to track and tracing anti-vaxx and COVID-19 misinformation,” he said. 

"The real danger of rampant vaccine hesitancy and scientific scepticism is tucked away in algorithm-created bubbles of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, where ideas fester and spread, unseen and unchecked by mainstream conversation.

"Previously believing the earth is flat or Bill Gates wanted to microchip the entire world would [once] have been socially isolating ... But now social media can instantly find you thousands of like-minded people who are eager to reinforce and exacerbate your misguided views."

The Reset Australia report can be found here.



If anti-vaxers don't want the vaccine it's their choice. As it's also the choice of people to have the vaccine.

So if an antivaxer or anyone else refuses to have the vaccination & gets sick then make them pay for all treatment & medication as the choice was theirs. Exempt would be children who's choices were made by their parents or guardians so the bill would go to them. 

Same if returning from overseas, mandatory quarantine if not vaccinated for Australian citizens only & non citizens including permanent residence no vaccination certificate no fly no matter what the reason. No quarantine for those with a vaccination certificate. & if leaving the country only those who have been vaccinated are eligible to leave the country no matter what the circumstances.

Tough call but their choice isn't it as they also well understand the situation.


Well spoken Karl. I bet on the horses like that so much each way. One minute you are saying it's your choice and the next minute you are saying there are thing you cannot do if you don't get the jab! My doctor so far has advised me NOT to have the jab because of my health reasons and age of 82. So do I listen to my doctor or you?


Sorry to hear Ancal that because of your health issues & age your doctor has advised against the vaccine.

You are caught between a rock and a hard place, no easy choice but still the choice is yours, damned if you do damned if you don't. If me I would seek a 2nd & 3rd opinion based on the fact that during the botched Victorian Hotel Quarantine debacle 655 people from aged care facilities died from covid compared to 685 nationally. Can't find any deaths in Australia directly related to the vaccine,

My opinion (which was directed mainly at the anti-vaxxers) should of been to also take into account medical reasons. But when travelling, especially overseas I doubt very much if not being vaccinated due to heath reasons will be accepted.

I would listen to your doctor, not me. I am no health expert but I read the facts. I don't read social media platforms for advice either as many anti-vaxxers seem to do but read the facts from trusted scources. 

Hope all works out for you in the end.

And I'll be getting vaccinated asap. Which is my choice.


Anti-vaxxers ... sick to death of them.

Sadly many of us may become literally "sick to death" because of them.

RnR there is issues with the various vaccines but we have to bite the bullet and run with it, some of the vaccine is good for one strain and better for another, I don't know what will develop but we cannot lock ourselves in for another two years.

One is good protection for the Indian infection and then one is better for the other South African infection.

Life is a risk in everything we do, like getting into a car or a boat!


The problem is that even if vaccinated you can still catch Covid. The effect on you will be minimal but you will have it. I agree with Karl re allowing only actual Citizens in and not others including Permanent Residents as they could still be citizens of another country.

I lived through the days of diptheria, whooping cough etc etc and vaccinations saved countless lives. It used to be compulsory to be vaccinated against smallpox before you could enter Australia. Smallpox has been eliminated. 

The Anti-vaxxers are a Real and Present Danger and should be regarded as such unless there is a genuine health reason not to be vaccinated then it should be compulsory. Mind you a decent advertising campaign and a better organised vaccination roll out would help.

Covid-19 anti-vaccination individuals are correct with their decisions, those who have had the vaccine are volunteers, the individuals who have made appointments and registered are part of the long-term trials and test programme. 

While most drug companies have entered trial stages and shown only 60, 70-76% positive results in only a few volunteers, many results have been lower but the pandemic panic forced the early release of AstraZenica and Johnson & Johnson in the U.S, up to now there is still no guarantee a working vaccine will ever be developed for COVID-19 to be eradicated.

In 1796, Edward Jenner in the UK created the first successful smallpox vaccine, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that vaccine treatments began to effectively eradicate the disease in some parts of the world. Only higher level of vaccine production eventually lead to eradication of the disease by 1980. 

Anti-vaxxers are a shallow bunch without conviction. My reason for this bold statement? When the government withheld Family Allowance and childcare payments unless the children received the MMR, a large group suddenly decided that the money held a higher importance in their lives than their Anti-vax ideology.


Anti-vaxxers may be shallow but the 50.4 % =1/3 of adult Australians have more common sense than the 2/3rds of adults who believed in the fear factor and rushed to be injected with an un-tested vaccine.


I hope the Federal Government give Australia a Christmas Present ....  freedom from the lock into our flights overseas and open everyone else into Australia at Christmas thats about time for everyone to have their vaccination.

That will be nearly two years in lock down.

Sorry Celia but we are not in lockdown and borders shouldn't be opened up until sufficient numbers have been vaccinated. The biggest thing that is in our favour is that we are an island and as such can control who comes and goes from our country. The last thing we want is to back into another fair dinkum lockdown because of Covid creating yet another wave on infections. 

The vaccination program is nothing short of a disgrace and thankfully the States have stepped in and got things moving.

We could always let people travel overseas on the proviso that they accept the risks and the fact that they may not be able to get back into Australia.

People cannot just go willy-nilly in and out of the country!

The getting back in is an issue as they are not letting crowded flights back into the country from what I read.  We still have to book into a hotel for 14 days.   Unless you come from a Bubble.


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