NO REAL NEWS: A look at what went wrong this week



A summary of some of the most popular but completely bogus stories and visuals of the week. None of them are legitimate, even though they have been shared widely on social media. The Associated Press verified them. Here are the facts:

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CLAIM: After a legal challenge from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and a group of scientists, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous and “canceled universal vaccination.”

THE FACTS: The Supreme Court has made no ruling regarding the safety of coronavirus vaccines and Kennedy, an attorney who has argued against vaccines, called articles sharing the allegation “misinformation.” Dozens of posts making the false claim link to blogs that regularly publish hoaxes and disinformation. The claim has been circulating for months and has recently resurfaced as new vaccine requirements issued by the federal government come into effect. Articles and messages include an alleged quote from Kennedy. But Kennedy told The Associated Press that the articles are bogus, as is the quote. “The quote is fabricated,” Kennedy said. “Obviously someone made it up and promoted it because the same quote keeps coming up no matter how many times I deny it.” In addition, there is no legal case that corresponds to the one described in the articles. “The United States Supreme Court has not ruled on a case involving a challenge to a Covid-19 vaccination requirement,” wrote Joanne Rosen, senior lecturer at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in an email to AP. Rosen studied legislative precedent for vaccine mandates. Although Kennedy has said he has been involved in more than 30 vaccine safety lawsuits, these are at different stages of the court process and none have appeared in the Supreme Court.

– Associated Press writer Sophia Tulp in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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CLAIM: The New England Journal of Medicine published a correction earlier this month that reversed its earlier statements. The newspaper now admits that the COVID-19 vaccine may not be safe for pregnant women.

THE FACTS: The medical journal did not “backtrack” or suggest that COVID-19 vaccines could be dangerous for pregnant women, as vaccine reviews on social media falsely claimed. The online posts twist the September 8 diary’s correction, which dealt with an update to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yet still come to the same conclusion: that the vaccines were not found to be harmful to pregnant women. The CDC updated an original report on vaccines in pregnant people “to resolve an issue with how the risk calculation was performed,” according to Jennifer Zeis, director of communications and media relations for the group. NEJM. The CDC’s initial report, published online in April and printed in June, included only a small portion of those who had been vaccinated during early pregnancy. An accompanying editorial based on this incomplete information included an estimated risk of miscarriage before 20 weeks gestation and indicated that the risk was within the expected range for the pregnant population as a whole. The correction of the NEJM removed this wording, as well as the risk estimate. On the same day, the journal published a research letter from the CDC containing additional data and estimating that the risk of miscarriage in people vaccinated early in their pregnancy ranged from 14% to 19%, which the authors said. was “within the expected risk range” for pregnant women in general. Statistics from the March of Dimes show 10-15% of people who know they are pregnant miscarry, but the nonprofit says up to half of all pregnancies can end in pregnancy. miscarriage. The exact number is not known, as some people lose their pregnancies before they realize they are pregnant. The CDC data on which the NEJM’s findings were based included people who only realized they were pregnant after being vaccinated. On August 11, the CDC urged all pregnant people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect themselves and their children. Major obstetrician groups have also recommended vaccines for pregnant women, who face a high risk of serious illness if they are infected with the coronavirus.

– Associated Press writer Ali Swenson in Los Angeles contributed to this report, with additional reporting by Lindsey Tanner.

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CLAIM: Experts from the Food and Drug Administration have revealed that COVID-19 vaccines kill at least two people for every person they save.

THE FACTS: FDA experts did not say this and strongly refuted this false claim in an email to The Associated Press. A speaker who is not affiliated with the FDA made the statements during the open public hearing of a meeting of the FDA Vaccine Advisory Group on September 17. The 15-member external expert panel held an eight-hour streaming meeting to make recommendations on the use of booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. In the days following the meeting, social media users and bloggers began to falsely attribute several statements from the livestream to the FDA panelists, when in fact they were made by independent speakers during a public comment period. “FDA panel member says COVID vaccines kill more than they save during live streaming on Youtube,” read a blog post widely shared in conservative Facebook groups. However, this unsubstantiated claim actually came from Steve Kirsch, a freelance speaker not affiliated with the FDA, shows a YouTube video of the meeting. Abby Capobianco, an FDA press secretary, confirmed that none of the comments in the open public hearing were from FDA employees or members of the advisory committee. She said the FDA is not screening speakers’ remarks for the open public hearing portion of the meeting. To support his point, Kirsch referred to data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a database maintained by the CDC and the FDA of unverified reports of adverse events occurring after receiving a vaccine. But the VAERS system does not determine whether a vaccine caused the reported events. The FDA requires healthcare providers to report any deaths after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, “although it is not clear whether the vaccine was the cause,” Capobianco said. More than 380 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States, and reports of deaths after vaccination are rare, according to the FDA. Meanwhile, research shows COVID-19 vaccines are safe and extremely effective in preventing serious COVID-19 illness and death. The vaccines also continued to provide strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant. Kirsch did not respond to a message seeking comment. Another widely shared article online falsely claimed that the FDA advisory board said that “the unvaccinated are more knowledgeable about the vaccine than most who have received it” and which experts cannot disprove. the concerns of anti-vaccine advocates. But the Vaccine Advisory Committee did not make those statements either. Similar comments were made by Dr. Joseph B. Fraiman, an emergency physician in New Orleans, during the open hearing portion of the meeting. Fraiman confirmed to the AP that he is not affiliated with the FDA or the Vaccine Advisory Board and said some of its wording has been changed and taken out of context in online publications. In his comments to the committee, he urged the FDA to pursue larger-scale vaccine booster trials that he said could help counter vaccine hesitation. Several days after the September 17 meeting, CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky on Thursday ruled that people 65 and over, residents of nursing homes and people 50 and over who have problems chronic health care providers should be offered a COVID-19 vaccine booster once they are six months after their last dose of Pfizer,

– Ali Swenson, with reporting provided by Associated Press editors Sophia Tulp in Atlanta and Terrence Fraser in New York.

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CLAIM: The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 in England is on hold due to an error in the documents.

THE FACTS: UK public health agency Public Health England has confirmed that a vaccine rollout for children ages 12-15 is not suspended or delayed, contrary to false claims on networks social. Earlier this month, the chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland recommended that children in this age group receive a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine, reported the AP. On Monday, England’s National Health Service announced that the deployment has started and will be carried out to hundreds of schools this week. A fake tweet linked to a video claims the “Child jab rollout” is “messy” and several schools have been canceled due to paperwork issues. “Basically the jab deployments to schools in England are on hold because Public Health England did not send the correct documents, which is called the leadership of the patient group,” says one man in the video, falsely describing the situation. A representative from Public Health England confirmed to The Associated Press in an email Tuesday that vaccinations had not been interrupted for 12 to 15 year olds and that there would be no delays or suspensions. The agency said the leadership of the patient group, which is the legal framework, was in place for the jabs.

– Associated Press writer Arijeta Lajka in New York contributed to this report.

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CLAIM: A video clip shows a speech in Virginia by President Joe Biden interrupted by chants of “F— Joe Biden.”

THE FACTS: The original video, from July, does not include these chants; the clip has been edited to add this audio. The video captures Biden’s remarks at a campaign event for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. When Biden spoke, he was interrupted by rowdies speaking out against a pipeline project. A White House transcript shows some members of the public shouting, “Stop line three! – a reference to a pipeline replacement project in Minnesota opposed by environmental groups and some Ojibway tribes. Others in the crowd responded with shouts and chants of support for Biden, as the president said, “It’s okay – no, no, no, no, let him speak.” This clip is now circulating on social media with a different sound, mistakenly suggesting that Biden’s speech was interrupted by chants of “F— Joe Biden”. Some posts sharing the clip note that the vocals have been added and are not part of the original video. But others don’t. In an Instagram post liked more than 6,000 times, the manipulated clip was used at the start of a video montage showing people shouting the same phrase elsewhere, mostly at sporting events. “F Joe Biden in Virginia Speech,” reads the title of the video.

– AP writer Angelo Fichera in Philadelphia contributed to this report.


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