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 group of physicians who endorse widely debunked conspiracy theories and often provide public health and medical guidance counter to that of health authorities is running a campaign against COVID-19 vaccines. Using a website created in December, the organization frames COVID-19 vaccines as medical discrimination and “forced experimental vaccines.” The group’s petition to stop “forced vaccination” is circulating widely on social media, with approximately 700,000 signatures. The group recommends the public use the phrase "experimental" when talking about COVID-19 vaccines, a term that has been increasingly used within groups opposed to COVID-19 vaccines.

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The UK’s vaccine regulatory body found a possible link between a rare case of blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine, but UK health authorities, the World Health Organization, and the European Medicines Agency confirmed that overall benefits of the vaccine significantly outweigh any risks. However, Britain recommended people under 30 get an alternative COVID-19 vaccine if possible. Further, it was announced that clinical trials with children have been halted, as investigation of the blood clots continues. Countries have been advised by the European Medicines Agency to make their own determinations, as the investigation is ongoing. Conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccine organizations and individuals are now claiming that the AstraZeneca vaccine is dangerous, and that signing children up for any vaccine trials constitutes parental negligence.

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A Chinese ophthalmologist and virologist, who has previously made claims that SARS-CoV-2 was made in a Chinese laboratory, has released a paper in which they claim the virus was created as a bioweapon. The paper was posted on March 31 and has been shared widely in online social networks. The claims are not peer-reviewed and have been refuted by all credible health authorities as well as investigative journalists.

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A video of a Canadian YouTuber is spreading on YouTube, TikTok, and other platforms, comparing COVID-19 vaccine mandates to Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws refer to laws that legalized racial segregation in the U.S. The YouTuber argues that because previous surveys have found that Black people were least likely to say they would receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, businesses and organizations that enforce vaccine mandates will effectively be refusing to serve Black individuals. The YouTuber in question has previously argued Black individuals should not trust the medical community, claiming health experts promote pharmaceuticals rather than addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the Black community and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and supplements.

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A video is being widely shared on various social media platforms, claiming there has been no increase in deaths among older adults in the U.S. in 2020, compared to previous years. This false claim is used to shed doubt on the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent report released by the CDC, the age-adjusted death rate increased for the first time since 2017 and was 16% higher in 2020 than in 2019. COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the U.S., with older adults among groups with the highest COVID-19 death rates.

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Pineapple drinks are being touted as a natural COVID-19 remedy on social media. Posts reference a study from Australia out of context, falsely claiming that pineapple extract can dissolve the spike proteins on coronaviruses.

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Conspiracy theorists including anti-vaccine advocates are sharing that the name AstraZeneca is actually a translation of "weapon that kills," in a combination of Polish and Latin. The name is actually derived from the Greek word, "Astron", which means star, and "Zeneca" which refers to a British company. Such posts began circulating after EU countries announced they would resume use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

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Claims that the Israeli vaccination program is violating the Nuremberg Code have resurfaced in the last few weeks, after a lawsuit was filed against the Israel government for its COVID-19 vaccination program. The lawsuit was filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC). Many vaccine opponents are alleging the ICC “accepted” the claim, however officials at the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) have clarified they merely acknowledged receipt of the claim. Anyone can submit information about alleged crimes to the ICC’s OTP. Other anti-vaccine individuals and organizations in other countries have argued COVID-19 immunization efforts are “crimes against humanity.” To date, no credible international legal authority views these claims as legitimate.

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A news article is being shared within conspiracy groups on Facebook, claiming the CDC has admitted that COVID-19 does not exist. The story misrepresents the scientific process described in a July 2020 report from the CDC, in which the health agency describes how they created tests to detect the virus. The article alleges that the virus causing COVID-19 has not been isolated in a lab, and therefore cannot be proven to exist. The story circulated widely last fall, when it was first debunked, and has recently resurfaced.

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Posts on social media are falsely claiming that life insurance companies will not pay claims if a person has received a COVID-19 vaccination within a year of death. The American Council of Life Insurers, which represents several life insurance firms in the U.S., has responded saying that this is false information and policyholders can be assured that the claims process has not changed as a result of COVID-19 vaccination.

Recommendation: Ignore Read More +

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