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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center
SciCheck’s COVID-19/Vaccination Project

Businessman’s Social Media Post Distorts Facts on Definition of a Pandemic

Businessman’s Social Media Post Distorts Facts on Definition of a Pandemic

A businessman’s post on Instagram and Facebook wrongly claims that the U.S. government “changed the definition of pandemic” in 2004, suggesting that COVID-19 would not have qualified under the old definition. There’s no evidence for those claims — and COVID-19 is by all means a pandemic.

Misinformation About WHO’s COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance for Children

Misinformation About WHO’s COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance for Children

A World Health Organization advisory group has concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine “is suitable for use by people aged 12 years and above,” and is specifically recommending it for children ages 12 to 15 who are at high risk of severe COVID-19. The WHO did not say “stop giving kids the vaxx immediately,” as some have claimed online.

Post Misleads on Japan’s Policy for Donating Blood After COVID-19 Vaccination

Post Misleads on Japan’s Policy for Donating Blood After COVID-19 Vaccination

Japan only recently adopted guidelines for accepting blood donations from those who have received COVID-19 vaccines. The guidelines are intended to give donors time to get over any side effects from the vaccine. Without providing that context, a social media post misleadingly claims Japan is “refusing” blood donations from vaccinated people.

Idaho Doctor Makes Baseless Claims About Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines

Idaho Doctor Makes Baseless Claims About Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines

A viral video features a doctor making dubious claims about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments at a forum hosted by Idaho’s lieutenant governor. Dr. Ryan Cole claims mRNA vaccines cause cancer and autoimmune diseases, but the lead author of the paper on which Cole based that claim told us there is no evidence mRNA vaccines cause those ailments.

Could a COVID-19 vaccine become mandatory?

On Sept. 9, President Joe Biden directed the Labor Department to develop a temporary emergency rule for businesses with 100 or more employees that would require workers to be fully vaccinated or be tested at least once a week. The administration says the rule would affect an estimated 80 million private-sector workers.
Some experts have said the vaccine requirement is legal under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The law says the secretary of labor can issue “an emergency temporary standard,” or ETS,

Headlines Distort the Facts on CDC Mask Order

Headlines Distort the Facts on CDC Mask Order

Headlines shared on social media distort the facts of a recent order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that mandates face masks be worn on public transportation. The order doesn’t require that individuals wear two masks. CDC guidance issued with the order does say that cloth masks should be made of at least two layers.

Video Uses Bogus Claims to Stoke Race-Based Fears of COVID-19 Vaccine

Video Uses Bogus Claims to Stoke Race-Based Fears of COVID-19 Vaccine

A viral video clip makes bogus claims about COVID-19 vaccines and falsely accuses the government of “pure racism” for “push[ing] this heavily on Blacks and browns.” Public health experts have recommended prioritizing those communities for the vaccine because they have suffered higher rates of infection and death.

Viral Posts Distort WHO Guidance on COVID-19 Tests

Viral Posts Distort WHO Guidance on COVID-19 Tests

Dubious websites and viral posts falsely claim that the World Health Organization changed COVID-19 testing protocols for political reasons following Joe Biden’s inauguration and admitted that false-positive cases had been inflating the case count. The WHO’s guidance merely reminded labs to follow instructions provided by each test’s manufacturer.

Biden Adviser Didn’t Propose Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine for Food Stamps

Biden Adviser Didn’t Propose Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine for Food Stamps

A report from two dozen experts — including a doctor named to President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board — recommended using existing social service programs to connect people with COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The report did not advise requiring vaccination in order to receive such services, as social media posts falsely claim.