The Anti-Vaxx Playbook

Exposing anti-vaxxers' deadly plan to disrupt Covid vaccines, and how we can stop them

Anti-vaxxers met in private in late October 2020 to discuss their plans to disrupt the Covid vaccine. They didn't realise CCDH was there too. The Anti-Vaxx Playbook is our new report exposing their tactics, messages and use of social media. Our report explains how health experts, the public, tech giants and legislators can counter these harmful plans.

Download report Find out more


There is an organised and disciplined anti-vaxx industry:

  • Anti-vaxxers see Covid as an opportunity to drive long-term vaccine hesitancy.
  • The total English-language audience for anti-vaxxers online has grown significantly in the past year and now stands at 59 million followers.
  • Some anti-vaxxers are economically-motivated hucksters, some are true believers.
  • Either way, to win, they need to undermine confidence in the scientific establishment.

This is an asymmetrical conflict:

  • Health professionals need to persuade the public to take an action.
  • Anti-vaxxers need only to create doubt as to its efficacy, safety or necessity.
  • That’s why anti-vaxxers operate by asking questions

Forget individual anti-vaxx memes. their garish content is designed to distract and seek to create doubt about:

  • The threat posed by Covid
  • The safety of vaccines
  • Whether we can trust experts

Here is our five point plan for health professionals:

  1. Focus your communications on our core messages
    – Covid is deadly
    – Vaccines are one of the safest, most effective, most consequential medical
    inventions. They have saved countless people from disease, disability and death.
    – Doctors and scientists are motivated by wanting to help people.
  2. Do not share or engage with anti-vaxx misinformation online. This spreads it further. Instead, ask people to share and engage with pro-vaccine messages.
  3. Meet people where they are online. Create “answering spaces” where the public can ask questions, e.g., doctors could join their local Facebook groups and offer to answer queries.
  4. Empower, support and amplify a diverse range of expert message carriers on social media.
  5. Expose the methods and motives of anti-vaxxers, not the content of their narratives.
  6. Help stop the spread of misinformation about a Covid vaccine

Drawing on the latest research, the Center for Countering Digital Hate created this infographic on how we can all help prevent the spread of misinformation and boost good evidence-based advice. Click the image below to share it on Twitter.