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 recent study found that vaccinated people who contract the Delta variant can spread it to others, confirming what previous studies have reported. The study is being used by anti-vaccine advocates to falsely claim that vaccines don’t work. COVID-19 vaccines, like all vaccines, are not 100 percent effective at preventing disease. Although Delta-infected vaccinated people have a similar viral load as infected unvaccinated people, vaccinated people are far less likely to contract COVID-19 in the first place. Some data also suggests that vaccinated people are contagious for a shorter period of time than unvaccinated people, which reduces the likelihood that they will spread COVID-19 to others.

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A comment from an FDA advisory panel member, who stated that “we’re never going to learn about how safe this vaccine is unless we start giving it,” has been taken out of context and used by vaccine opponents, including a U.S. congressperson, to cast doubt on COVID-19 vaccines for younger children. The advisor’s full remarks recognized the fact that, while the vaccines are very safe and effective in children, the cost-benefit analysis is different for younger populations who are less susceptible to serious complications from COVID-19. That does not mean that the vaccines have not been tested in children or that they were found to be anything other than safe and effective. The FDA voted to authorize vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 because the benefits of vaccination—more than 90 percent efficacy against COVID-19—far outweigh the extremely rare potential risks in the population.

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Several conservative news sites have published stories challenging the legitimacy of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine approval based on supposed conflicts of interest in the FDA advisory committee. The stories highlighted FDA advisors who have previously been connected to Pfizer in some capacity, including advisors who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, mentored a researcher 10 years ago who now works at Pfizer, or sat on an independent monitoring committee for a different Pfizer vaccine, as well as a couple of people who previously received research funding from Pfizer. All of these facts are publicly available because members of FDA advisory committees are required to disclose all affiliations and potential conflicts of interest. They are also prohibited from serving as advisors on any products or decisions in which they have a financial interest, and none of the FDA advisors do with regard to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Recommendation: Ignore Read More +

The U.S. is currently experiencing supply chain delays due to a combination of worker shortages and global production issues. Many political commentators have inaccurately blamed employer vaccine mandates for the shortages, but these issues predate local, state, and federal employer vaccine requirements. The pandemic caused major disruptions to the global supply chain at almost every level. At the height of the pandemic, many manufacturers slowed down or halted production on certain products, leading to widespread layoffs. Now, the ability to produce and ship supplies is lagging behind the increased global demand. 

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Several conservative websites and a member of Congress have alleged that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has changed its guidance for employers reporting work-related injuries to encourage them to sweep COVID-19 vaccine side effects under the rug. According to the agency’s recording criteria, work-related injuries or illnesses must be reported if they result in death, loss of consciousness, days away from work, work restriction or transfer, or medical treatment beyond first aid. In late May, OSHA updated its reporting rule to clarify that adverse events related to COVID-19 vaccines are not considered work-related injuries or illnesses. Employment law experts interpret the updated rule as easing the burden on employers because potential vaccine side effects are not a result of working conditions that could reasonably be altered to eliminate risk.

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A U.S. senator who has previously spread COVID-19 misinformation repeated multiple debunked claims about the COVID-19 vaccines, including that the vaccines are dangerous and ineffective, vaccine mandates are “pointless,” and treatments like ivermectin are being suppressed in favor of vaccines because “there’s no money in it.” An article covering the senator’s comments has been widely shared on social media. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, highly effective, and the best way to protect against COVID-19. To date, there is no scientifically validated evidence that ivermectin can prevent or treat COVID-19. 

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 A conservative talk show that has previously shared COVID-19 misinformation posted multiple videos claiming that COVID-19 vaccines contain graphene and "self-assembling" parasites that react to graphene. These claims are false. The ingredients for all authorized COVID-19 vaccines are publicly available and none contain graphene or parasites.

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A video with nearly 1,400 views falsely claims that COVID-19 vaccines weaken the immune system, contain HIV and harmful bacteria, and kill 20 to 30 percent of people who receive them. The video also repeats the debunked myth that COVID-19 vaccines failed animal testing. The vaccines train the immune system to effectively protect against COVID-19. The ingredients for all available vaccines have been publicly available online for nearly a year. The video comes on the heels of a Public Health England report that has been misrepresented by anti-vaccine advocates to claim that COVID-19 vaccines cause AIDS. Charts from the report were manipulated to make it appear that the immune systems of vaccinated people were degrading over time.

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A former journalist who was banned from social media platforms for posting COVID-19 misinformation has taken to a personal blog to spread the false claim that vaccinated people have a weaker immune response than unvaccinated people, even among those who have had and recovered from a COVID-19 infection. It’s unclear how he has come to that conclusion, although the post uses a closely cropped screenshot of a passage from a recent Public Health England report as alleged evidence for the claim. The full report clarifies that in populations with high vaccination rates, a larger proportion of the infections, hospitalizations, and deaths will be among the vaccinated because there are far more people who are vaccinated than not and no vaccine is 100 percent effective.

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A post on a far-right legal website falsely claims that none of the available COVID-19 vaccines are FDA-approved because Comirnaty is different from the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that has been administered since December. This myth was repeated by a U.S senator who has been critical of COVID-19 public health guidelines throughout the pandemic. Comirnaty is simply the brand name for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. It’s common for drugs to have a research name until FDA approval. Prior to FDA approval, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was called BNT162b2 by researchers and the “Pfizer vaccine” by the public. Now that the vaccine is FDA-approved, it is marketed under the name Comirnaty.

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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