A University of British Columbia professor is combating COVID-19 misinformation using the latest in video-sharing trends on TikTok.
Assistant biomedical engineering professor, Dr. Anna Blakney, is educating more than just classes about vaccines. She’s also teaching her more than 217,000 social media followers.
“Do COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?”
No, mouths the 30-year-old, shaking her head to the beat of a song widely used on the digital platform.
“Do the vaccines contain microchips?”
Also no, the professor indicates, prompting viewers to ask her more questions in the comment section of her video.
Originally from Colorado, Blakney was first recruited last May to share her expertise through a UN Verified and Vaccine Confidence Project joint initiative.
Since then, tens of millions of people have tuned in to her most popular videos.
In one of them, Blakney dances alongside UBC’s Dr. Peter Cullis, whom she dubs the “godfather of RNA delivery.”
Cullis co-founded the lipid nanoparticle technology that allows the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine to enter human cells. He also happens to be Blakney’s “personal scientific hero,” she says.
In another video, the professor advises people on how she deals with vaccine skeptics in her family.
“I try to focus on educating them and not convincing them,” Blakney says. “Show them the data, millions of people have gotten the vaccines and they haven’t died.”
When she’s not tackling questions such as whether someone needs a vaccine if they’ve already had COVID-19, Blakney continues her research at the UBC School of Biomedical Engineering.
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