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.

This week in misinformation

Trending Misinformation about Vaccines & COVID-19

  • News headlines about the death of an AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial participant have dominated misinformation this past week. The story has been misinterpreted to suggest that the individual in the trial received the experimental vaccine, when in fact the person was in the control group. 
  • Deaths following flu vaccination in South Korea may be contributing to the avoidance of the flu shot over concern about the vaccine’s safety. The deaths are being investigated, but Korean health authorities have found no direct link between the deaths and the vaccines, and plan to continue with the vaccine program.

This week in misinformation

Trending Misinformation about Vaccines & COVID-19

  • Fact checking sites are debunking a Facebook post that claims that school attendance is considered consent to vaccination. This information is based on a misleading Facebook post which inaccurately reports on vaccine programs in which parents had received advance notice of school immunization programs. 
  • Claims that masks are ineffective continue to circulate, including posts on Facebook which inaccurately claim that masks “collect” COVID-19. For the second week in a row, these statements misrepresent a recent CDC study which showed that 85% of COVID-19 patients stated that they ‘always’ or ‘often’ wear a mask. Masks, when worn properly, have been consistently found to be one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
  • The prospect of COVID-19 immunity has been misrepresented on social media in the past week, with some posts claiming that much of the US population already has immunity to COVID-19 due to exposure to similar coronaviruses, and others claiming that COVID-19 immunity is lifelong. Much remains unknown about immunity to the virus, and there is little known about how long antibodies or immune cells last among those who have been infected with COVID-19. 
  • Social media sites Facebook and Youtube are receiving criticism from people who believe the platforms’ efforts to curb false information about COVID-19 and vaccines is unjustified censorship.

This week in misinformation

Trending Misinformation about Vaccines & COVID-19

  • Research from the CDC about mask-use among COVID-19 patients is being interpreted to suggest that masks don’t work. In particular, news stories and social media posts are highlighting the statistic that 85% of COVID-19 patients in the CDC report stated that they ‘always’ or ‘often’ wear a mask.
  • A video claiming that one of the developing COVID-19 vaccines causes sterility in 97% of women, impacts male sexual organs, and will change the DNA of recipients is recirculating. The claims have been repeated multiple times throughout the past few months. The claims have been debunked by Reuters for its misleading and false claims.  
  • On Twitter, an article is circulating which discusses unpublished research claiming that there are fewer incidences of autism among unvaccinated children compared to fully vaccinated children. Reputable peer-reviewed studies have repeatedly shown there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing autism spectrum disorder.
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