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 study that is trending online claims that the COVID-19 vaccines caused new COVID-19 variants and increases in cases and deaths. The study uses data from a projection model that predicted COVID-19 infections and deaths without vaccines to conclude that vaccines increase infections and deaths. The study fails to correct for variants that are more transmissible or cause more severe illness and for the implementation of COVID-19 mitigation factors other than vaccines.

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A video that has accumulated over 340,000 views since it was posted last week features a medical doctor falsely claiming that COVID-19 vaccines were designed to depopulate the planet. The doctor, who is known for promoting COVID-19 conspiracy theories, claims to be backed by dozens of lawyers with “irrefutable proof” to support his claims. 

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Several popular social media posts claim that the Omicron variant, which is more likely than previous COVIID-19 variants to infect vaccinated people, is proof that vaccine mandates are unnecessary and are eroding confidence in the federal government. Currently available vaccines provide the best protection against all COVID-19 variants, including Omicron, significantly decreasing the risk of serious illness and death, while boosters provide additional protection against infection.

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Misleading headlines are circulating on social media with the false claim that marijuana prevents COVID-19 infection. The posts are in response to a study that investigated whether certain cannabis extracts could prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering cultured cells in a lab. While the study was peer-reviewed and its results do not appear to be in question, the issue is that none of the study’s experiments were conducted in humans and the cannabis extracts it examined are not the compounds ingested or smoked by cannabis users. This can be described as early stage research, perhaps opening the door to further research but itself providing no evidence that marijuana can prevent or treat COVID-19.

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During the U.S. Supreme Court arguments on President Biden's workplace vaccine mandate, a Supreme Court justice falsely claimed that more than 100,000 children are hospitalized with COVID-19. According to the CDC, fewer than 100,000 children have been hospitalized with COVID-19 throughout the entire pandemic. An increase in infections due to Omicron has resulted in a very worrying spike in children hospitalized with COVID-19, but pediatric hospitalization rates are significantly lower than the Justice was aware.

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A scientist known for promoting pseudoscience falsely claims that COVID-19 vaccines are not actually vaccines because they require multiple doses and it’s still possible for vaccinated people to contract and spread COVID-19. Many vaccines require multiple doses and boosters, including polio, measles, HPV, and hepatitis B. No vaccine is 100 percent effective against infection. COVID-19 vaccines dramatically reduce the risk of serious illness and death and boosters provide additional immunity against infection.

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Several misleading posts have used recent data from the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics to falsely claim that vaccinated people are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 than unvaccinated people. The data showed that, among people who tested positive for COVID-19, vaccinated people were more likely to have Omicron while unvaccinated people were more likely to have other COVID-19 variants. The analysis also found that unvaccinated people were more likely to contract COVID-19 and far more likely to develop severe illness than fully vaccinated people.

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 A group that claims to represent Canadian doctors and health care professionals produced a video that alleges the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is dangerous and causes “more harm than good.” The video repeats several previously debunked myths about COVID-19 vaccine safety, including that the vaccine is unsafe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. COVID-19 vaccines are the best protection against infection, serious illness, and death. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risk of rare side effects.

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A U.S. senator’s misleading social media post claims that 1 million adverse events and more than 21,000 deaths have been reported following COVID-19 vaccination. The post received tens of thousands of engagements before being restricted and is still being shared online. The data referenced in the post is from VAERS, a database of self-reported medical events that occur after vaccination.

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A trending blog post falsely claims that no COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the FDA. This misinformation has been circulating online since the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine in August. Vaccine opponents have since suggested that Comirnaty, the brand name of the Pfizer vaccine, is different from the vaccine that is being administered in the U.S. The Pfizer vaccine, like most drugs, was not marketed under a brand name until it received a non-emergency standard FDA approval. Similarly, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is marketed under the brand name “Spikevax” in the E.U., where it is approved for ages 12 and up, but not in the U.S., where it is still under emergency use authorization.

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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