Since the coronavirus pandemic erupted last year, PolitiFact has fact-checked hundreds of misleading statements about the development, deployment, content, safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Even as the U.S. sees a rise in cases among unvaccinated populations, the unsupported claims keep coming.
False narratives that the vaccines are mandatory and that they result in widespread death more than doubled across social media, broadcast and traditional media, and online sites over the past three months, according to Zignal Labs Inc., a media intelligence firm.
“Every adult can get it, so of course every adult is in the potential audience for misinformation,” said John Gregory, deputy health editor at NewsGuard, a firm tracking online misinformation.
Hundreds of anti-vaccine groups remain active on Facebook, and one watchdog group found that 12 online influencers were behind 65% of the anti-vaccine misinformation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. False claims are frequently boosted by politicians and pundits, too.
People who get their news from conservative media are more likely to believe misinformation about the vaccines, according to a recent survey from the University of Pennsylvania.