Alerts are categorized as high, medium, and low risk.
  • High risk alerts: Narratives with widespread circulation across communities, high engagement, exponential velocity, and a high potential to impact health decisions. Are often more memorable than accurate information.
  • Medium risk alerts: Narratives that are circulating in priority populations and pose some threat to health. Potential for further spread due to the tactics used or because of predicted velocity. Often highlights the questions and concerns of people.
  • Low risk alerts: Narratives that are limited in reach, don’t impact your community, or lack the qualities necessary for future spread. May indicate information gaps, confusion, or concerns.

A congressperson known for sharing anti-vaccine conspiracy theories accused a social media platform of censorship after it flagged an abstract published in an American Heart Association (AHA) journal. The study claimed to have found an association between mRNA vaccines and heart damage. The abstract is not from a full study and was not conducted by the AHA; it is a non-peer-reviewed research poster that was presented at an AHA meeting last month. The abstract was heavily criticized by researchers for its lack of statistical evidence to support its claims and has since been flagged by the AHA due to concerns about the quality of the research.

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A headline from a well-known news organization is being misinterpreted by those who mistakenly believe that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are actually gene therapy that can alter the DNA. The original misleading headline, “Yes, The Vaccine Changes Your DNA. A Tiny Bit. That’s A Good Thing,” refers to an immune system process that occurs in response to vaccination or viral infection. The process is not specific to mRNA vaccines and has nothing to do with altering DNA. The headline has since been updated to more accurately reflect the article’s content and to state that “COVID vaccines don’t alter your DNA.”

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A U.S. senator who has previously spread COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation claimed during an interview that masks don’t work, citing a 2020 Danish study. The study’s results were inconclusive, with the researchers emphasizing that "this trial did not address the effects of masks as source control or as protection in settings where social distancing and other public health measures are not in effect." In the year since the study was published, other larger studies have demonstrated that masks are effective at reducing COVID-19 transmission.

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Social media users are claiming without evidence that a large number of athletes are collapsing due to COVID-19 vaccine injuries, specifically myocarditis. These claims are often accompanied by out-of-context videos showing athletes collapsing, which have racked up thousands of views across social media platforms. Many of the videos have already been debunked, while others remain unverified.

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Conspiracy theories and misinformation began circulating online as soon as WHO labeled Omicron a COVID-19 “variant of concern.” Two popular videos falsely claim that COVID-19 vaccines were designed to fail and that vaccinated people are more susceptible to the virus and new variants than unvaccinated people. These claims are untrue. Researchers don’t know yet if Omicron is more infectious or better able to evade the vaccines than previous variants.

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A popular conservative commentator suggested that the Omicron variant is a sign of a never-ending pandemic, alluding to the “new world order” conspiracy theory, which posits that a totalitarian government controls—or will soon control—the entire world. Another viral post insinuated that the variant had been manufactured. COVID-19 variants, including Omicron, arise naturally when SARS-CoV-2 enters cells and replicates. Vaccination dramatically reduces the virus’s ability to reproduce and the possibility that new variants will develop. The more people who remain unvaccinated, the more variants will arise, putting us all at risk. 

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A new documentary features several prominent COVID-19 opponents who repeat debunked vaccine misinformation. Some of the false claims in the documentary’s trailer include that the CDC is underreporting the deaths of vaccinated people and that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective and unsafe. Both the CDC and individual states track COVID-19 infections and deaths in vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of infection, which in turn reduces the risk of transmission.

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A group of scientists submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about COVID-19 vaccine data which amounted to around 329,000 pages. The FDA proposed a schedule to release 500 pages each month to allow the 10 employees currently handling FOIA requests time to process the documents. Several viral social media posts are now claiming that the FDA is purposely delaying and suppressing vaccine data. FOIA requests have been used many times in the past to cripple the capacity of federal and state health agencies working on controversial topics, such as tobacco control and gun safety. FOIA requests are a critical tool in a functioning democracy, helping to keep government operations transparent and accountable. However, FOIA requests can be “weaponized” and can require significant resources to be pulled from other essential operations.

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As more vaccine-hesitant and vaccine-resistant people have gotten vaccinated as a result of mandates, fake home remedies to “undo” the vaccination have popped up on social media. Some treatments claim to “detox” the vaccine from the body using baking soda, Epsom salt, and borax baths, while others claim to “uninject” the vaccine with venom extraction kits or cupping therapy. None of these supposed remedies will reverse the vaccination process but some, such as bathing in borax, may be harmful.

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A video of a child experiencing convulsions has resurfaced online with claims that the child suffered a seizure after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The video previously gained traction in May, when it was debunked by the child's father, who said the boy has epilepsy and has experienced seizures since 2009.

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Alerts are categorized as high, medium, and low risk.
  • High risk alerts: Narratives with widespread circulation across communities, high engagement, exponential velocity, and a high potential to impact health decisions. Are often more memorable than accurate information.
  • Medium risk alerts: Narratives that are circulating in priority populations and pose some threat to health. Potential for further spread due to the tactics used or because of predicted velocity. Often highlights the questions and concerns of people.
  • Low risk alerts: Narratives that are limited in reach, don’t impact your community, or lack the qualities necessary for future spread. May indicate information gaps, confusion, or concerns.
Monthly Misinformation Report

Explore Public Good Project’s report highlighting high-level health trends. This report captures information from April 6th – May 5th, 2024.

Vaccine Misinformation Guide

Get practical tips for addressing misinformation in this new guide. Click image to download, or see highlights