COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation
In recent months, the newly developed COVID-19 vaccine has grown into a hot topic on social media that has led to countless posts containing dangerous misinformation. Two such examples are that of the fake news related to the COVID-19 vaccine being very harmful to the lungs, and the fake news of the “disappearing” vaccine needle. These two examples of fake news both went viral in popularity and were spread countless times across various social media outlets. Throughout a wide variety of fact-checking websites, including Snopes and the Associated Press, these claims have been proven to be entirely false. In relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential to steer clear of the misinformation being spread by people on the internet using ill-informed reasoning.
To delve into the origin of the claim that the COVID-19 vaccine will wreak havoc on the lungs within a few months of receiving it, Snopes writes that it began as a claim asserted by a woman named Sherri Tenpenny, who is a firm believer in various unproven conspiracy theories: including those related to chemtrails, 5G, etc. Tenpenny allegedly created numerous blog posts with the recurring claim that the mRNA vaccine used to combat the novel Coronavirus would generate deadly antibodies that could destroy the lungs, citing previously conducted research as evidence to support her claim. According to Snopes, this claim is completely false because it relies on research that doesn’t even apply to the vaccine created for the novel Coronavirus in the first place. To elaborate, researchers have concluded that, based on the research that Tenpenny is drawing from, extreme lung damage can be caused by an injected vaccine when it inhibits a Th-2-cell-biased immune response. The scientists working on the COVID-19 vaccine knew from this pre-existing research to design their vaccine to avoid the Th-2 immune response. Therefore, it can be gathered that, while Tenpenny does cite her claims from valid sources, she is still spreading dangerous misinformation because the facts she utilizes don’t apply to the specific scenarios that she is alleging they do (Kasprak).
Will mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Wreak 'Havoc on The Lungs' in 4 to 14 Months?
As governments fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Snopes is an "infodemic" of rumors and misinformation, and you can help…
On top of this, another false claim about the COVID-19 vaccine surfaced that has been spread across social media over 420,000 times. This time, it was claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine was fake, with a clip being featured that appears to show a medical professional inserting a vaccine needle into a patient, after which the needle seemingly “disappears.” The above image is a tweet featuring an image from this aforementioned clip. In reality, according to the Associated Press, this is a clip released by the BBC that features a health care worker inserting a retractable safety syringe into the patient. These safety syringes can be beneficial, as they can prevent needlestick wounds. This means that the clip does not prove that the vaccine is fake, rather it shows an instance in which a uniquely engineered safety syringe is applied to administer the vaccine (Dupuy).
BBC footage shows COVID-19 vaccination with retractable needle
AP'S ASSESSMENT: False. The health care worker in the BBC footage was using a safety syringe, which retracts. THE…
With the advent of social media and various digital platforms, misinformation has increasingly become a contagious virus that serves to promote the spread of ill-informed ideas and logical fallacies among a wide range of individuals. Misinformation on the topic of the COVID-19 vaccine is especially dangerous to the wellbeing of a vast group of people, as the virus itself can be deadly. In retrospect, it is essential to fully verify the facts from reliable sources for certain situations before believing the claims propagating on social media.
Dupuy, Beatrice. “BBC Footage Shows COVID-19 Vaccination with Retractable Needle.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 17 Dec. 2020, https://apnews.com/article/fact-checking-afs:Content:9834953546. Accessed 10 March 2021.
Kasprak, Alex. “Will MRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Wreak ‘Havoc on The Lungs’ in 4 to 14 Months?” Snopes.com, 2 Mar. 2021, www.snopes.com/fact-check/vaccine-lung-damage/. Accessed 10 March 2021.