An overview of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and images of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were widely shared on social media. The Associated Press reviewed them. Here are the facts:
• • •
CLAIM: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has received three vaccine doses of COVID-19 but still tested positive for the virus.
THE FACTS: The day after Garcetti tested positive for COVID-19 while attending a UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, social media users began falsely claiming that he had not only received two doses of COVID-19 but also a third booster dose. Thursday’s social media posts used the false claim as a starting point for skepticism about vaccine effectiveness. “BREAKING – Triple-vaxxed Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tests positive for COVID,” read a post that has been widely circulating on Instagram. “Remember, trust the science.” Another Facebook post read: “L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti tested positive for COVID and he is (asterisk) TRIPLE VAXXED. (asterisk)” Garcetti, however, has not received a booster shot for COVID-19, said Alex Comisar, his Director of Communications, Thursday Garcetti “was given two doses of the Moderna vaccine earlier this year and will receive its booster as soon as it is recommended,” Comisar said. If you received Pfizer or Moderna injections first, U.S. health authorities say you should are eligible for a booster if your last dose was at least six months ago and you are 65 years of age or older.Young people with health problems, or with jobs or living conditions that put them at greater risk of COVID-19 are also eligible. the first person to receive the Johnson & Johnson shot is eligible for a booster, as long as he received the vaccine at least two months ago.According to the Centers for Disease C. Onrol and Prevention, people who are fully vaccinated are still highly protected from hospitalization and death from COVID-19. But the agency says public health officials have observed declining protection against mild and moderate disease over time, especially in certain populations. Booster shots can increase protection for people who were vaccinated months ago.
— Associated Press writer Ali Swenson in New York contributed to this report.
• • •
CLAIM: Getting the vaccine against COVID-19 makes you more likely to get AIDS or cancer.
THE FACTS: The claim is false. On October 25, Facebook and Instagram removed a live video published by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. In the video, Bolsonaro falsely claimed that people in the UK who had received two doses of coronavirus vaccine developed AIDS more quickly than expected. Days later, posts on social media echoed the false information. A popular Facebook post falsely claimed, “You all get cancer and HIV.” But immunologists, infectious disease specialists and cancer researchers contacted by The Associated Press said COVID-19 vaccines do not cause cancer or make people more likely to contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. dr. Michael Imperiale, a professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan, said “there is no evidence that the vaccines are associated with cancer,” and that none of the ingredients in the vaccines are carcinogenic. dr. Mark Shlomchik, chair of the department of immunology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said the idea that any vaccine can cause cancer is false. “There is no practical way a vaccine can cause cancer,” Shlomchik said. “No vaccine we’ve ever studied or used to prevent infection has ever been linked to cancer.” The claim that COVID-19 vaccines cause HIV or AIDS is “absolutely and categorically a false statement,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, associate chief of the division of HIV, infectious diseases and global medicine at the University of California San Francisco Medical School. “There is nothing in the COVID vaccines that contains HIV or increases a body’s susceptibility to contracting HIV.” Individuals also cannot contract HIV while receiving the injection. “It is not possible to transmit HIV between people during immunization,” says Dr. Paul Bollyky, an associate professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Stanford University of Medicine. “The COVID-19 vaccines are not made with human blood products and a single-use needle is used on each person who has received the vaccine.” AIDS is the most severe phase of HIV infection, associated with a high viral load and a severely damaged immune system. But in clinical trials testing the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, no evidence emerged to suggest that people with HIV were more likely to get AIDS after receiving the injection. “Many hundreds of thousands of people have participated in worldwide trials for the vaccines,” Shlomchik said. “’Adverse reactions’ were studied in both vaccinated participants and unvaccinated people who were part of the study. There was never any difference between the two groups in getting AIDS.” Real world data also does not show that vaccinated people are more likely to get AIDS than unvaccinated people. “7 billion doses of COVID vaccines have been distributed,” Gandhi said. “And there’s no evidence that vaccines make it more likely for individuals to get AIDS.”
— Associated Press writer Terrence Fraser in New York contributed to this report.
• • •
CLAIM: Photo shows “the 400 jets used by #COP26Glasgow visitors to attend a conference on reducing emissions and fossil fuels.”
THE FACTS: The photo of parked jets was taken in New Orleans during the 2013 Super Bowl, not at the UN Climate Change Summit in Scotland, known as COP26. Some who are critical of some attendees flying to the climate conference in private jets erroneously used the old 2013 photo to make their point. “These are the 400 jets used by #COP26Glasgow visitors to attend a conference on reducing emissions and fossil fuels,” wrote conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza in a tweet that garnered some 9,000 retweets and 23,000 likes . “Obviously there will be stiff competition here for the Hypocrisy Awards.” Reverse image search shows that the photo used in the tweet has been online for several years. The image appeared in a 2013 story by Aviation International News, which identified the image with hundreds of corporate jets at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport for that year’s Super Bowl. David Spielman, the New Orleans-based photographer who credited the image, confirmed in a telephone interview that he had taken the photo for that outlet. D’Souza later corrected himself on Facebook, where he also shared the claim. “Correction: The photo below was the wrong photo,” he said. “The photo below was taken in 2013.” D’Souza did not immediately respond to a request for comment. COP26 calls itself a “carbon neutral conference” and says that “inevitable carbon emissions from COP26” will be offset, for example by investing in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Associated Press asked the conference communications team how many private jets had carried attendees and whether they were included in the carbon offset plan, but received no response before publication. Other attempts to verify the number of private jets used were also unsuccessful.
— Associated Press writer Angelo Fichera in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
• • •
CLAIM: A bus ad about knowing the warning signs of childhood strokes is related to COVID-19 vaccines.
THE FACTS: In the days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a smaller dose of the Pfizer vaccine for use by children ages 5 to 11, social media users shared a photo of a bus ad from Canada to promote false information about COVID – 19 vaccines and children. Posts circulating online included a photo of the ad, which read: “Kids have strokes too, know the signs,” along with a caption falsely suggesting that the government is somehow controlling a wave of strokes among children. predicted once they were vaccinated against COVID-19. However, the ad, which appeared on nine buses in Ontario, has no link to the vaccines. A Canadian charity, Achieving Beyond Brain Injury, placed the ads to educate the public about childhood strokes during Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month in May. The foundation’s co-founders, Nadine Vermeulen and Rebecca DiManno, started the organization after their sons suffered a stroke at the age of 10 and 14. Vermeulen said the bus ads had nothing to do with the COVID-19 vaccines. “It was heartbreaking that what we are trying to do and spread awareness has turned into something we have to defend against,” she said of the social media claims. Vermeulen said her organization didn’t say strokes are common, they just wanted to raise awareness among parents. “Neither of us knew that children could have strokes until our children had it,” Vermeulen told The Associated Press. “There are several signs you can look out for that could save a child’s life.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not list stroke as a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccines. Millions of children ages 12 to 17 have received the Pfizer vaccine, and there are no significant reports of stroke. “None of the mRNA vaccines being researched for children have been associated with that,” said Dr. Kevin J. Downes, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, on stroke. This week, U.S. children ages 5 to 11 received Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine. Before that, the FDA reviewed data from 3,100 children in that age group who had received the vaccine during trials and found that some experienced mild to moderate side effects, including sore arms, fatigue and fever. In rare cases, some teens and young adults who have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines have reported a side effect of heart inflammation known as myocarditis.
— Associated Press writer Beatrice Dupuy in New York contributed to this report.
Comments are closed.