Knowing what misinformation is being shared can help you generate effective messaging.

These insights are based on a combination of automated media monitoring and manual review by public health data analysts. Media data are publicly available data from many sources, such as social media, broadcast television, newspapers and magazines, news websites, online video, blogs, and more. Public health data analysts from the PGP (The Public Good Projects) triangulate this data along with other data from fact checking organizations and investigative sources to provide an accurate, but not exhaustive, list of currently circulating misinformation.

Recommendations are organized into three categories:

  • Ignore: Focus on current communications priorities.
  • Passive Response: Be prepared to address if directly asked, and in certain cases consider updating FAQ’s and info sheets addressing common myths and misperceptions. Otherwise, continue to focus on current communications priorities.
  • Direct Response: Directly address this misinformation.

A video posted on several independent sites claims that airline companies are meeting to discuss banning vaccinated individuals from flying because of the recent discovery of 150,000 “hidden” vaccine-related deaths in government databases. The video suggests that the hidden deaths resulted from vaccinated people being at higher risk for blood clots at high altitudes. Multiple fact-checkers confirm that no airlines have met to discuss these purported risks. While blood clots are a known risk when traveling long distances due to prolonged periods of stillness, there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccinated are at greater risk of blood clots when flying.

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Last week, a Danish soccer player collapsed unexpectedly during the Euro 2020 Cup and was later confirmed to have suffered cardiac arrest. Several social media users speculated that the event was a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, with some people falsely claiming that the player received the vaccine on May 31. A spokesperson for the Danish national team dismissed the claims, noting that the player had not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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A video on social media features a man previously shown to spread conspiracy theories calling the COVID-19 pandemic a hoax created to promote climate change, which he also said was a hoax. Among other debunked claims in the video, he claims that the COVID-19 vaccine is not actually a vaccine but a gene therapy that will alter one's DNA and cause infertility. This video has been viewed more than 13,000 times, demonstrating the persistence of debunked COVID-19 myths.

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As the CDC continues to investigate cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in young people who received COVID-19 vaccines, several social media users are warning people not to risk their children's health for a virus that they have "zero risk of dying from," claiming that the risks of vaccination outweigh the dangers of COVID-19 in children. Although children and young people have a much lower chance than adults of dying from COVID-19, they can still develop severe illness with potentially long-term impacts. Children can also still transmit the virus to high-risk individuals and play a role in spreading COVID-19 variants. So far, cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in vaccinated individuals have been rare and mostly mild. In a demonstration of its commitment to closely monitoring and ensuring the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will hold a meeting to evaluate and discuss the issue on June 18.

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Over the last week, a California judge has garnered criticism for spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines. During a controversial ruling to strike down the state’s assault weapons ban, the judge stated that "More people have died from the Covid-19 vaccine than mass shootings in California." Ten people in California have died in mass shootings in 2021. According to the CDC, to date no deaths have been causally linked to the COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S.

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Claims that the COVID-19 vaccines will worsen illness in those who are exposed to the virus through antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) continue to circulate on social media. ADE occurs when antibodies produced by the immune system fail to prevent an infection and instead enhance the virus' ability to enter cells and replicate. A recent article shared on several social media platforms falsely claims that there is growing evidence of ADE from COVID-19 vaccines, citing alleged increases in COVID-19-related deaths and VAERS reports. Although ADE is a real phenomenon that is considered when developing vaccines, it has not been shown to occur in association with any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines during animal studies, large clinical trials, or real-world administration.

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A viral video clip from a popular podcast received 2.5 million engagements in one day. The video discusses Dr. Fauci's "leaked" emails, including claims that Fauci said masks don’t work and that he hid evidence that COVID-19 originated in an NIH-funded lab in Wuhan, China. The emails in question are from the early months of the pandemic before researchers fully understood how the virus spreads. During this time, Dr. Fauci and other public health officials recommended that people who are sick should wear masks, not for their own protection but to avoid infecting others. Once it became clear that asymptomatic people could also spread COVID, the guidelines were updated to advise that everyone wear masks to slow transmission of the virus. While the origin of SARS-CoV-2 remains unclear, scientists largely agree that one of the most plausible theories is that the virus originated and evolved from nature. In an email exchange with Dr. Fauci, another researcher noted it was possible that the virus was engineered but after further analysis concluded it was not man-made or manipulated. The investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 will take time.

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A widely shared video features a nurse criticizing a major health care provider for refusing to prescribe ivermectin for her potentially positive COVID-19 diagnosis. This video adds to a growing list of claims that ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug usually used to treat tropical diseases, has been shown to effectively prevent and treat COVID-19. Some have even linked the recent decrease in COVID-19 cases in India to new health guidelines allowing the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. Although ivermectin is approved for other purposes, it is not currently approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. Research has yielded mixed results on the drug's safety and effectiveness, and the FDA advises against its use for COVID-19. There is no evidence to suggest that increased ivermectin use reduced infection rates in India, and other countries with similar ivermectin use guidelines have seen no related reduction in cases.

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A video that has been viewed more than 40,000 times features an anti-vaccine chiropractor listing five reasons people should not get a COVID-19 vaccine. The video includes several widely debunked claims, including that the vaccines are ineffective and unnecessary, COVID-19 death counts have been inflated, COVID-19 can be safely and effectively treated with hydroxychloroquine, and the vaccine is unsafe based on VAERS data. He calls those who are vaccinated "a danger to society" and "modern-day lepers," referring to the false claim that vaccines shed. All of these claims are false. The video’s caption also includes citations from a site previously shown to share vaccine misinformation.

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A video interview posted on a site previously shown to spread far right conspiracies claims that, for the first time in the U.S., a doctor has certified a COVID-19 vaccine injury. The person featured in the video claims to have been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) after getting the second Moderna shot. The woman previously posted a video showing metal objects sticking to her face, suggesting that the vaccine made her magnetic. The patient, who appears to be in the hospital during the interview, says she has a history of autoimmune disease. According to the CDC, people with autoimmune conditions can receive COVID-19 vaccines. GBS is typically triggered by infections, such as influenza and COVID-19. In extremely rare instances, GBS has been linked to certain vaccines, including the flu and tetanus shots. But decades of research suggest that individuals are far more likely to develop GBS from an infection from a virus, like the flu or COVID-19, than from a vaccine. Notably, no cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome were reported in any of the mRNA vaccine trials. At this time it is unknown whether this singular case of GBS is linked to vaccination or not.

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Knowing what misinformation is being shared can help you generate effective messaging.

These insights are based on a combination of automated media monitoring and manual review by public health data analysts. Media data are publicly available data from many sources, such as social media, broadcast television, newspapers and magazines, news websites, online video, blogs, and more. Public health data analysts from the PGP (The Public Good Projects) triangulate this data along with other data from fact checking organizations and investigative sources to provide an accurate, but not exhaustive, list of currently circulating misinformation.

Recommendations are provided, organized into three categories:
  • Ignore: Focus on current communications priorities.
  • Passive Response: Be prepared to address if directly asked, and in certain cases consider updating FAQ’s and info sheets addressing common myths and misperceptions. Otherwise, continue to focus on current communications priorities.
  • Direct Response: Directly address this misinformation.
Vaccine Misinformation Guide

Get practical tips for addressing misinformation in this new guide. Click image to download.

Vaccine Misinformation Guide

Get practical tips for addressing misinformation in this new guide. Click image to download, or see highlights