Myths vs. Facts: Making Sense of COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation

Original article from The Brink

When so much wrong information is readily available, convincing people to get vaccinated has proven to be a huge challenge

Myth: pronounced mith; noun; definition: a widely held but false belief or idea; synonyms: misconception, fallacy, fantasy, fiction.

Among the many reasons COVID-19 vaccination rates in the United States peaked earlier than experts hoped—then, rather than crescendoing into the summer months, began trending downward—are myths that took hold among the unvaccinated and solidified as their reasons not to get the shots. The vaccine will make women sterile; the vaccines are too new; the shots have a microchip in them; the vaccine itself will give me COVID; I’m immune because I had COVID; breakthrough cases prove vaccines are useless.

There are more. And none of them are true.

But no matter how convincing and irrefutable the science and the data about the COVID-19 vaccines are, misinformation spreads so easily and quickly—largely through social media networks—that it has become a major barrier stopping the United States from reaching higher levels of vaccination (190 million people, or 57 percent of Americans, have received at least one shot) that would bring us closer to herd immunity.

So let’s cut to the chase. Myth vs. Fact. The Brink took some of the most widespread myths to two leading infectious disease experts, Davidson Hamer, a faculty member of BU’s School of Public Health, School of Medicine, and National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, and Sabrina Assoumou, a BU School of Medicine assistant professor of medicine and of infectious diseases and a Boston Medical Center physician.

If these two experts encountered someone on the street who cited one of these myths as their reason not to get vaccinated, this is what they would say to them. To provide extra context, we include one more fact.

Click to Read Full Article in The Brink