Rare cases of myocarditis have been reported following the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, particularly among young males after a second dose. Most cases resolve quickly without the need for advanced therapies, although research on any potential long-term effects is ongoing. Nonetheless, the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks in all populations, even in young males.
Clinical and real-world studies have shown that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing serious disease, and there is a long history of vaccine requirements in the U.S. But a list of bogus claims, shared around the world in recent months, falsely attributes unique characteristics and requirements to COVID-19 vaccines.
As of early December, unvaccinated adults were about 97 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people who had received boosters, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. But a Twitter user falsely implied that the death rate for the unvaccinated included people who had only one or two doses of a vaccine. The CDC said “unvaccinated” means someone has “not been verified to have received COVID-19 vaccine.”
The National Institutes of Health has not recommended and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment. But a Facebook post misleadingly implies that an article published on the NIH website is an endorsement of the drug to treat COVID-19. The NIH and FDA have said more clinical studies are needed.
A COVID-19 booster dose increases protection against the coronavirus. But in an interview, comedian Bill Maher incorrectly said COVID-19 booster shots were “useless” and could cause “immune system fatigue.” Online, others have made similar claims. There is no basis for the notion that the immune system would tire out, even after repeated boosters.
A Japanese company found that the antiparasitic drug ivermectin showed an “antiviral effect” against the omicron variant in a lab setting. Reuters has corrected a story in which it “misstated” that the drug was effective in a phase 3 clinical trial with human subjects. Some social media users have repeated Reuters’ reporting error but have not repeated the correction.
The approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. are effective at preventing severe disease, and experts say the benefits of vaccination for children outweigh any known or potential risk. But social media users have shared video of Dr. Robert Malone misleadingly asserting that the COVID-19 vaccines are “not working” and claiming without evidence that many children “will be hospitalized” and may experience brain damage and infertility due to the vaccines.
Polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests for COVID-19 are highly accurate. People on social media, however, are circulating lists of germs that they baselessly claim will cause such tests to be falsely positive. In reality, it’s the opposite. The lists include pathogens that have been tested by the manufacturers and did not react to the test.
After the Food and Drug Administration pulled its authorization of two COVID-19 antibody drugs because the treatments are highly unlikely to work against the omicron variant, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida misleadingly claimed the decision had been made “without a shred of clinical data” to support it. There may not be data from patients, but lab studies strongly suggest the treatments will not help omicron-infected people.