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.

In a post that has been widely shared on social media, a former New York Times reporter is claiming that a person is 300 to 900 times more likely to die from a COVID-19 vaccine than the flu vaccine. This conclusion was made using data from the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS). This post continues a trend of incorrectly using self-reported VAERS data to draw causal links between vaccines and adverse health events. The VAERS is a passive surveillance system in which any individual can self-report any health problem following self-reported immunization. VAERS is the official US vaccine adverse event reporting system, maintained and monitored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, reports to the VAERS do not determine if a vaccine caused a reaction or death; if a report is found to have merit, it begins the first of many subsequent steps taken by health officials to investigate adverse events.

Recommendation: Ignore Read More +

Anti-vaccine groups are capitalizing on the death of a 58-year-old Virginia resident hours after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Reactions on social media claim that she was coerced into receiving the vaccine, that she is a "guinea pig" for pharmaceutical companies, and that the CDC has too many conflicts of interest to objectively investigate vaccine related adverse events. The death is under investigation, but to-date health officials have stated there appears to be no link between the vaccine and her death.

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Social media users are sharing a new website that compiles both anecdotal reports of adverse events following COVID-19 immunization and information reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is a passive surveillance system in which any individual can self-report any health problem following immunization, maintained and monitored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The new website is not affiliated with any health authority or research institution. The site directs its users to search for adverse events in its searchable database, and provides videos, some several hours long, taking viewers through individual self-reported events or exploring news stories on adverse events. Videos are hosted on sites where fact checking is left up to individual users. The site itself is linked to a network of sites known to promote conspiracy theories.

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COVID-19 vaccines of indeterminate origin are appearing for sale online. Legitimate COVID-19 vaccines are not advertised or sold online.

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A widely circulated article is claiming the CDC has inflated the number of COVID-19 deaths by 1600%, due to changing the way COVID-19 deaths are recorded. This claim had been fact checked and found to be false previously, but has resurfaced due to routine guidance coming from the US National Center for Health Statistics on updating COVID-19 mortality data collection codes for a World Health Organization system (not the CDC). Death reporting has not changed significantly in the US during the pandemic, and health officials actually believe COVID-19 deaths are undercounted.

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A video is being shared in which an (unverified) Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) claims that there were zero fatalities from COVID-19 in the nursing home he works in, until COVID-19 vaccinations began. Vaccine opponents on social media are hailing him as a hero and calling for more healthcare workers in nursing homes to come forward and act as "whistleblowers." Some social media users have stated that in remaining silent, healthcare workers are allowing their government to commit "geriatricide."

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News is spreading that South Africa paused use of AstraZeneca-Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine after a small-scale, unpublished study found it was less effective at preventing mild to moderate disease from the B1351 variant strain, dominant in South Africa. Misinformation is circulating that the vaccine is ineffective against all strains of the virus. Research studies are under way to confirm these preliminary findings, and to study the vaccine’s effectiveness in older adults, as some European countries the study’s earlier trials did not have sufficient data on this group. The World Health Organization has approved the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for use in all adults, paving the way for its use in low- and middle-income countries.

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A presentation containing an extensive collection of social media posts all claiming personal experiences with adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines is being shared no multiple social media sites. The presentation was made to appear as if the CDC endorsed it. Domestic and international posts were included. Tech companies have been removing the presentation, but it has been shared hundreds of thousands of times.

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Anti-vaccine advocates, including senior leaders in the movement, are claiming that requiring a COVID-19 vaccine is a violation of the Nuremberg Code and health care providers who administer the vaccines are guilty of war crimes.

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A video claiming that COVID-19 vaccines are actually "gene therapy" is recirculating online. The video claims that 87,000 doctors and nurses have claimed the pandemic is overblown, that it is actually a typical flu, and that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe. Medical credentials are highlighted to lend increased credibility to the widely debunked claims.

Recommendation: Passive Response 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