It was sadly no great surprise when early data released last month showed slow uptake in the borough for the Covid vaccine.
Hackney has long struggled to meet vaccination targets. Last September, we reported on a huge drop locally in the number of at-risk under-65s getting their free flu jab. It was one of the sharpest declines anywhere in the country over the past five years.
A 2019 measles outbreak again put the spotlight on a history of scepticism in the borough towards the MMR vaccine.
It’s hard to persuade adults that their often long-held beliefs are based on duff information, which is why it is heartening to see lessons being introduced in schools to help ward off anti-vax conspiracies from a young age.
But why not go a step further?
In Finland, they’ve been teaching youngsters how to properly interpret information for years, starting in primary school. It’s paying off. A 2019 study found Finland was ‘best equipped to withstand the impact of fake news’ out of 35 nations.
In a post-truth age where such lessons are even necessary, information literacy is a survival skill. As we’ve seen with Covid, and the Capitol riot in America, allowing conspiracy theories to take hold can have fatal consequences.