It’s estimated that COVID-19 vaccines have saved millions of lives, but false claims continue to cast doubt on their safety and efficacy. One such claim that has spread around the world falsely suggests that three Canadian doctors died from the shots. But they each died of a long-term illness unrelated to the vaccines.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has continued making public appearances, although news coverage has largely shifted away from the pandemic since Russia invaded Ukraine in February and COVID-19 cases have dramatically fallen. Some politicians and pundits, however, have suggested that Fauci has become so unpopular that he has “disappeared” from public view. He hasn’t. Fauci has made at least a dozen public appearances since Feb. 15.
TV actress Betty White passed away at age 99 on Dec. 31. Following her passing, various falsehoods appeared on social media about White, including claims that she died after getting a COVID-19 booster shot and that she was the sister of former first lady Barbara Bush. White died of natural causes, according to her agent, and she had no siblings.
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.
The number of U.S. plane accidents has been about the same this year as it was last year. But posts on social media falsely claim that there has been a significant increase due to pilot reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines. The Federal Aviation Administration says it has seen “no evidence of aircraft accidents or pilot incapacitations” associated with COVID-19 vaccines.
A digital device company is developing gel sensors that would monitor the wearer’s health and could potentially help to detect future outbreaks of disease. But conspiracy theorists are falsely claiming that the sensors are actually COVID-19-detecting microchips that will be used to track people’s movements.
The seven-day average of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. has increased by 322% in two months, straining the ability of medical staff in some states to care for patients. Despite the rising numbers, an Instagram post questioned whether COVID-19 is “truly a pandemic that was ‘overwhelming hospitals,'” if hospitals are firing nurses who refuse to be vaccinated.