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.

Claims that individuals who have received COVID-19 vaccines then “shed” mRNA or spike proteins are circulating widely on social media. Anti-vaccine organizations and other groups that embrace conspiracy theories and pseudoscience are asserting that this “shedding” puts unvaccinated individuals at risk of harm. One of several debunked claims includes the belief that an unvaccinated woman’s menstrual cycle can be altered simply by their being in proximity to a vaccinated individual. In reality, those vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine cannot and do not shed mRNA or spike proteins, or any other elements associated with these vaccines.

Recommendation: Passive Response Read More +

Concerns whether COVID-19 vaccines impact menstruation have been spreading online. A trending article shared on social media reviews anecdotal claims that getting vaccinated has made some women’s periods worse. While experts say this appears unlikely, at present there appears to be a shortage of available research examining linkages between women, menstruation, and COVID-19 vaccination. However, given widespread attention on blood clots forming in six women who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, this concern coupled with this article is expected to exacerbate anti-vaccine advocate’s claims that all COVID-19 vaccines are “experimental” and inherently harmful to women.

Recommendation: Passive Response Read More +

A site known to promote misinformation is claiming that vaccine deaths in 2021 are almost twice the amount of vaccine deaths during the last decade. Data for this claim are pulled from the CDC's VAERS site, which contains unverified self-reports of deaths that occurred after vaccination. VAERS data are not evidence of vaccine-caused deaths. The site’s claim has been debunked by leading fact-checking organizations, as it misinterprets VAERS data leading to inaccurate claims.

Recommendation: Ignore Read More +

An interview conducted by an Argentine media outlet with an immunologist and biochemist that has previously made false claims about vaccines is spreading online. In the video, the interviewee warns that COVID-19 vaccines could cause antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). This claim is based on the belief COVID-19 vaccines could sensitize recipients to a more serious disease when exposed to the virus. Vaccine experts widely disagree with this assertion. This claim is common among anti-vaccine and vaccine skeptical organizations and individuals.

Recommendation: Ignore Read More +

A clip from a popular television show is spreading on social media wherein the host asks why people who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 still need to take safety precautions if the vaccines are effective. The clip casts doubt on the effectiveness of the vaccines and government recommendations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend continuing to wear a mask and maintain social distancing because it is not yet known how well the shots protect against variants of the virus or prevent its spread. Precautions and guidelines have been consistently updated as additional evidence is acquired.

Recommendation: Direct Response Read More +

A previously published study in an Indian journal known for publishing COVID-19 conspiracy theories is again circulating. The study claims that mRNA technology used in COVID-19 vaccines causes brain degeneration from prion disease, which is a family of rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders. The study has previously been debunked by multiple sources after it was originally published back in January.

Recommendation: Ignore Read More +

False claims due to the pausing of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are predictably escalating on social media. Numerous claims and conspiracy theories are circulating across all social media platforms. In one unverified video a young woman claims to have experienced "fits” and blood clots after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The woman claims the government and pharmaceutical industry are covering up known dangers of COVID-19 vaccination. This video alone has received millions of views and hundred of thousands of engagements over the course of roughly 72 hours.

Recommendation: Direct Response Read More +

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.

Recommendation: Ignore Read More +

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.

Recommendation: Passive Response Read More +

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.

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