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 to social media features a 2015 interview of Klaus Schwab, an economist who founded the World Economic Forum, saying that gene editing impacts an individual’s identity. The video falsely claims that this statement is evidence that mRNA vaccines can alter genetic material. At no point in the interview does Schwab mention vaccines. The technology that he is discussing is unrelated to any of the COVID-19 vaccines, which were developed five years after the interview. False claims that mRNA vaccines alter DNA have been debunked repeatedly but persist online.

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 A video shared to social media claims to feature audio of famed vaccine developer Dr. Maurice Hilleman admitting that the polio vaccine was used to spread cancer and HIV/AIDS. The video plays audio of a man speaking over images of people sick with AIDS and cancer. There is no evidence that the voice belongs to Hillman or that he ever made any such comments. For years, the myth that vaccines cause cancer and other deadly diseases have persisted worldwide.

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A trending conservative news article claims that President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for American workers does not exist and is “just a press release.” This claim is false. An executive order requiring that all executive branch workers and federal contractors be vaccinated against COVID-19 was filed with the federal register on September 9th. The president also requested that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) draft an emergency rule mandating that all employers with at least 100 employees require that workers are fully vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. Earlier this week, OSHA submitted a draft of the new rule to the White House for review.

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The latest video from an activist group known for its deceptively edited videos features an alleged Pfizer whistleblower claiming that antibodies produced from natural infection are superior to those produced by vaccination. He goes on to say that Pfizer's strategy is to make life inconvenient for unvaccinated people to force them to get vaccinated. The video and its false claims have been shared by several large social media accounts. Studies into vaccine versus virus-induced immunity have produced mixed results. What we do know is that there is no safe way to acquire natural immunity and not everyone who contracts COVID-19 will develop protective antibodies against it.

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 Advocates of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin as a COVID-19 cure have continued to claim that the efficacy of the drug is being covered up by pharmaceutical companies and the government, while also criticizing Merck's new potential COVID-19 treatment. Ivermectin proponents claim that Big Pharma is attempting to discredit the drug because it’s affordable and widely available. One article cited the debunked claim that India's use of ivermectin reduced COVID-19 infections and deaths. Ivermectin has not been found to be effective at preventing or treating COVID-19, and when taken in the veterinary form, can be harmful to humans.

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A preprint of a non-peer-reviewed study about vaccine myocarditis risk has been withdrawn due to a miscalculation. The study claimed that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines cause a 1 in 1,000 risk of myocarditis. The authors later acknowledged that they under-calculated the number of vaccines that were administered during the study period. The miscalculation resulted in a “vastly” inflated myocarditis risk, according to a statement from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, where the study was conducted. Prior to its withdrawal, the study was widely circulated on social media and websites known to publish vaccine misinformation.

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A video that claims to show a man cutting his skin and removing the COVID-19 vaccine from his body in blood clots has been shared in multiple social media posts. The video suggests that within 30 minutes of being vaccinated, an alternative medicine technique called cupping can be used to suction coagulated blood, and presumably the vaccine, from the body. This claim is false. The vaccines are injected into the arm muscles and travel throughout the body, making removal of the vaccine by cupping or any other means impossible.

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A former U.S. National Security Adviser who in the past has promoted QAnon conspiracy theories claimed that government entities who are part of the “Deep State” are slipping vaccines into salad dressing. The perplexing claim seems to originate from ongoing research at the University of California, Riverside, exploring the production of mRNA vaccines in edible plants like lettuce.

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Viral videos from an activist group known for producing deceptively edited video clips show a purported Department of Health and Human Services whistleblower saying that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe and the government is covering up damage from the vaccines. The video has racked up more than 4.4 million views and has yet to be removed from several video hosting sites.

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An article published in “Toxicology Reports" asserts that there is insufficient evidence to continue vaccinating children against COVID-19 because they are at low risk of dying from the disease. The article focuses primarily on the cost-benefit analysis of COVID-19 vaccine safety versus potential risk from COVID-19 in children, relying entirely on VAERS-reported adverse events. The study concludes that COVID-19 deaths in children are “negligible” compared to VAERS-reported deaths. In fact, no confirmed pediatric deaths caused by COVID-19 vaccines have been reported in the more than 13 million children who have received at least one vaccine dose. While children are at low risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, more than 22,000 children have been hospitalized with the disease in the U.S. to date, and children can spread the virus to caregivers and other adults. The article also concludes that most people who died from COVID-19 “probably would have died from the flu or many of the other comorbidities they had.” Contrary to the article’s argument that COVID-19 deaths had no impact on mortality rates, COVID-19 resulted in nearly half a million excess deaths in 2020 and remains the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

Recommendation: Direct 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