Scientists are still learning about the omicron variant’s ability to spread or cause severe illness and the effectiveness of the current COVID-19 vaccines in fighting it. But a Facebook post misleadingly claims to list seven “symptoms” of the new variant, then suggests they are caused by the vaccines. The list actually refers to complications of COVID-19. Two of the listed conditions are rare adverse events associated with the vaccines.
On Nov. 24, South Africa told the World Health Organization that amid a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, it had identified a new variant — later named omicron — with a high number of mutations, raising concerns that it could spread more easily than other variants of the coronavirus. We’ll go through what we know so far about omicron.
A vaccination can’t be reversed through any “detox” process, medical experts say. Yet, a social media post is spreading the false claim that a bath with borax can “get rid” of a COVID-19 vaccine. The bath may remove some water from the body, but not the molecules associated with vaccines, a toxicologist told us.
With the release of its pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer switched the buffer used in its formulation to increase the stability of the product, allowing it to remain at refrigerator temperatures for longer. The Food and Drug Administration OK’d the change, which is also being made to some doses for teens and adults. Social media posts, however, misleadingly suggest that the ingredient swap is dangerous or was added to prevent heart attacks in children.
Responding to a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order on Oct. 31 allowing hospitals that are at or near capacity to transfer or stop admitting patients. Social media posts falsely claimed the order says hospitals can “refuse to treat the unvaccinated.” But the order doesn’t mention vaccination status.
After getting the COVID-19 booster on Oct. 27, California Gov. Gavin Newsom canceled a trip and did not participate in any official public events for 12 days. Social media posts claimed, without evidence, that Newsom was suffering serious side effects from the booster. But his staff denied that he had an “adverse reaction” to the shot and, during this time, he appeared twice on social media and reportedly attended a wedding.
The COVID-19 death rate for unvaccinated people has been significantly higher than for vaccinated people in both Israel and the U.S. Despite that, conservative commentator Ben Swann makes the false claim in a video that Israeli data prove vaccines aren’t effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. But the charts he uses don’t distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients.