Federal employees — including at the White House — must attest to being vaccinated against COVID-19, or else comply with routine testing and mitigation measures. But conservative commentator Charlie Kirk claims that the “White House staff is not required to be vaccinated,” baselessly questioning if undisclosed concerns about the vaccines are at play.
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.
The secretary of defense announced that COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for all service members by mid-September. But social media posts have shared an article from a dubious website that falsely claimed that the leader of the Marines “rebuked” the vaccine mandate. A Marine Corps spokesperson told us “there is no truth” to the claim.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document reviews the challenges of using a “shielding” approach to protect high-risk people living in places such as refugee camps from COVID-19. But conservative commentator Candace Owens misinterpreted it to mean the agency was proposing putting high-risk Americans into camps.
As some companies mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees, a social media post misleadingly tells workers who don’t want the vaccine that they can collect unemployment benefits if they are fired. In most states, workers fired for violating company policy aimed at workplace safety are not entitled to unemployment benefits.
In a viral video, an Indiana physician baselessly claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines, which have been shown to be safe and effective, “fight the virus wrong and let the virus become worse than it would with native infection.” He also incorrectly said no vaccine prevents infection and contended that people previously infected with COVID-19 do not benefit from vaccination, despite studies that suggest otherwise.
The CEO of Pfizer posted a photo of himself getting the second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on March 10. But an Aug. 5 tweet from Newsmax reporter Emerald Robinson misleadingly suggested he isn’t vaccinated. She updated the tweet hours later, acknowledging the CEO’s post — but after her claim had spread, uncorrected, on other social media.
Social media posts are misinterpreting the results of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which found 74% of people in a COVID-19 outbreak were vaccinated, to argue against immunization. But experts say the statistic is misleading without more context — and doesn’t mean that the vaccines don’t work.