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.

Several stories have been trending around adverse reactions to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Last week a story about a nurse who fainted after receiving her Pfizer vaccine was trending, and in the last 24 hours the story has escalated to claim that she has now died from the vaccine (which is false). A story about a physician at Boston Medical Center who went into anaphylactic shock after receiving the Moderna vaccine also caused a spike in claims that vaccine ingredients are unsafe. The CDC asks individuals with a history of severe allergies to vaccines to consult their physician before receiving the vaccine.

Recommendation: Direct Response Read More +

A Facebook photo is being shared that shows a bloody and disheveled hospital room with a fake CNN screen reading, "Breaking News: Hospitals on lockdown as first COVID-19 vaccine patients start eating other patients." There is, of course, no evidence that possible adverse reactions from COVID-19 immunization include cannibalism. Multiple fact-checking sites have debunked this post.

Recommendation: Ignore Read More +

News and social media sites have shared a story about a nurse in Nashville who claims that her COVID-19 vaccine has caused Bell's palsy. Bell's palsy was also reported among a handful of vaccine trial participants, but not more than would be expected by chance, and at this time there is no definitive link between the vaccine and paralysis.

Recommendation:  Direct Response Read More +

Several tweets from the UK are circulating, alleging that a new variation of the coronavirus was caused by Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. There are two important things to know about this claim: first, the new variant emerged in September of this year and began circulating at low levels in the population recently. Second, Pfizer's vaccine uses mRNA technology and cannot give recipients an infection of the virus. Experts believe that the current COVID-19 vaccines will work against the variant.

Recommendation: Ignore Read More +

Claims are spreading on Facebook and Twitter that asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 is not real, based on a research paper published in Nature in November. The paper analyzed the spread of COVID-19 in Wuhan, finding low asymptomatic spread. However, researchers stated that strict measures public health measures were successful in reducing the virulence of COVID in Wuhan and that asymptomatic people in Wuhan may have low viral loads - therefore, the finding cannot be applied to countries with large, active outbreaks. Throughout the pandemic scientists have been working to understand the risk of transmission by asymptomatic carriers, and have continued to find that asymptomatic spreading contributes to the ongoing case numbers.

Recommendation: Direct Response Read More +

A trending tweet questions whether flu cases are being misdiagnosed as COVID-19, with the tweet claiming it suspicious that flu cases have decreased so much in the current flu season compared to years past. Although the two illnesses have some similarities, swab tests to check for COVID-19 infection are highly specific and it unlikely that the flu would be misdiagnosed in a COVID-19 swab test. Experts also believe that flu cases are down this year because more people have gotten the flu shot and are wearing masks, two protective behaviors that reduce the spread of the flu.

Recommendation: IgnoreRead More +

Similar to the previous week, posts across social media, news, and blogs are reporting that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips that will be used to track those who receive the vaccine. This misinformation is a distortion of the fact that vaccine containers will contain barcodes in order to track their distribution.

Recommendation: Passive Response Read More +

Two people in the UK have had severe anaphylactic reactions to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. These people had a history of allergic reactions to vaccines. The CDC recently stated that people who have experienced severe reactions to prior vaccines can still get the Pfizer vaccine but should talk with their doctors beforehand, and be monitored for 30 mins after injection.

Recommendation: Direct Response Read More +

False claims are circulating on social media that the head of Pfizer's research department revealed their COVID-19 vaccine cause sterilization in females due to its inclusion of a protein called syncytin-1. The protein syncytin-1 is important in the creation of a woman's placenta. The actual Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine does not contain the protein, nor has the vaccine been associated with infertility. Claims around female sterilization from COVID-19 vaccines have persisted since vaccine trials first began.

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