Vaccines, democracy and truth: Disinformation and digital disruption after the 2020 election



15 December 2020




Washington DC time:
Monday 14 December
6.00-7.00pm EST


Free but registration is essential

The United States is in the grips of a singular moment in history. An emboldened community of conspiracy theorists is spreading rampant disinformation about the presidential election and the efficacy and intention of COVID-19 vaccines. Record numbers of Americans are testing positive for the virus and President Trump, who downplayed its threat, is taking credit for the arrival of vaccines while disputing President-elect Biden’s win.

The spread of online conspiracy theories has already had tangible impacts. After vicious anti-5G conspiracy theories, the rollout of 5G towers in the United Kingdom was interrupted by dozens of fire bombings and attacks. How can the United States and Australia traverse this clash of online disinformation and conspiracy theories with the real-world rollout of a vaccine program and a presidential transition? How has this landscape enabled hostile actors to influence US politics, and what are the implications for Australia and the world?

The United States Studies Centre hosted a discussion on these issues and more with the award-winning investigative journalist for NBC News Brandy Zadrozny and USSC Non-resident Fellow and Lecturer at the National Security College at ANU, Dr Jennifer Hunt in conversation with USSC Research Associate Elliott Brennan.


  • Brandy  Zadrozny
    Brandy Zadrozny

    Brandy Zadrozny is an award-winning investigative and features reporter for NBC News where she covers misinformation, extremism, and the internet. She’s written definitive stories on the QAnon conspiracy, conservative outlet The Epoch Times, and the profiteers behind the rising anti-vaccination movement and coronavirus misinformation online.

  • Dr Jennifer Hunt
    Dr Jennifer Hunt
    Lecturer in Security Studies, Macquarie University

    Dr Jennifer S. Hunt is a lecturer in security studies at Macquarie University. She was formerly a Non-Resident Fellow at the United States Studies Centre. Dr Hunt has published on comparative national security policy of cyber and energy issues in the United States, Australia and the Arab Gulf. She has served as a delegate at the Shangri-la Security Dialogue and attended the World Economic Forum at Abu Dhabi.

  • Elliott Brennan
    Elliott Brennan
    Security analyst

    Elliott Brennan is a security analyst. He was previously a research associate at the United States Studies Centre