Serious side effects after COVID-19 vaccination are rare, and there isn’t evidence people need to undergo a “spike protein detoxification” regimen after getting vaccinated, contrary to claims made online. Nor has such a regimen been shown to help people recover from long COVID, or long-term health problems after having COVID-19.
People with cancer are particularly vulnerable to severe disease and death from COVID-19. Vaccines provide needed protection. It has not been shown that COVID-19 vaccines cause or accelerate cancer. Nor does a recent paper about a mouse that died of lymphoma “prove” that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine induced “turbo cancer,” contrary to social media claims.
A Swiss study found that after a COVID-19 booster, less than 3% of people briefly had a slightly elevated blood level of a protein that can be a marker of heart injury. No one in the study had any serious heart damage, and other experts say the findings are unlikely to be clinically significant. Viral posts, however, are spinning the results to falsely claim that the study shows the vaccine’s risks are “off the scale.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s battle against vaccines — and against the institutions that promote them — goes back to at least the mid-2000s, as we explain in the first article of this series. But the arrival of COVID-19 gave the environmental attorney fresh grounds to intensify his attacks and a timely platform to gain new followers and revenue.
Breast cancer in younger women has been increasing gradually in recent decades. But a social media post misrepresents case number projections for 2022 and 2023 to falsely claim they show a dramatic rise in early-onset breast cancer — and then baselessly ties its faulty comparisons to COVID-19 vaccines.
Numerous studies have found that additional COVID-19 shots are generally associated with extra protection against the coronavirus. Many people on social media, however, have shared a preliminary finding from a Cleveland Clinic study and misrepresented it as proving that getting more doses increases a person’s risk of infection.
Ventilators can be lifesaving for critically ill COVID-19 patients. A social media claim that a new study shows ventilators killed “nearly all” COVID-19 patients is “quite wrong,” according to the study’s co-author. Ventilator-associated complications can contribute to deaths, but patients are typically put on ventilators when they would otherwise die.
Outside of long COVID or very severe cases, most research suggests COVID-19 doesn’t cause lasting damage to the immune system. A few studies have found evidence of some possible damage, but nothing as severe as an immunodeficiency. People on social media, however, are misinterpreting a recent study to incorrectly claim COVID-19 is HIV-like.
People online are touting the results of a Cochrane review to incorrectly claim that it shows masks “don’t work” against the coronavirus. But the primary conclusion of the review is that it’s uncertain from randomized controlled trials whether mask interventions in the community help slow the spread of respiratory illnesses.
Vaccination and infection both provide protective immunity to COVID-19, particularly against severe disease. But gaining immunity through infection is far riskier than vaccination. Posts citing a new Lancet study omit that important context and also misleadingly claim the study shows immunity after infection is superior to vaccination immunity.