The University of Nottingham, working alongside tech agency Rehab, has launched COVID Vax Facts, a new chatbot designed to address fears over the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and to tackle fake news and misinformation circling about the jabs.

It is thought that, in order for the UK to attain herd immunity, around 90 per cent of the population will need to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. However, misinformation is proving a significant barrier to this goal, with around 1 in 5 people uncertain about the vaccines, according to University of Nottingham research.

COVID Vax Facts aims to tackle this by engaging users in an objective conversation, informing them of what is and isn’t know about the vaccines and presenting scientific evidence in a way designed to be accessible.

The chatbot then asks the user whether they feel more or less confident about the vaccine. Certain anonymous data will also be gathered from the responses and relayed to the University of Nottingham research team, enabling them to track the influence of factors such as age or ethnic group.

Kavita Vedhara, Professor of Health Psychology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham, said: “There is a lot of information and misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and it can be hard to know where to look and who to trust.”

“We have tried to develop a ‘one-stop shop’ that will provide information about the most common issues raised by the UK public. Our aim is to give people the information that will help them make an informed choice.”

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