The report — released by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), an independent research organization that receives federal funding — examined how misinformation affected COVID infections, hospitalizations and deaths between March and November of 2021.
The authors suggest that misinformation contributed to vaccine hesitancy for 2.3 million Canadians. Had more people been willing to roll up their sleeves when a vaccine was first available to them, Canada could have seen roughly 200,000 fewer COVID cases and 13,000 fewer hospitalizations, the report says.
"In a democracy, the public should be able to understand the risks we're facing … and act on that basis," he said. "But if you're drenched in misinformation … then you're distorting the public's ability — and you're denying people the right — to be informed about the risks they're facing."