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Rumor Control

The distortions and half-truths of misinformation and disinformation pose enormous dangers to the effectiveness of science and to public health itself, through the negative impact it has on individual behavior. That's why I've made combating misinformation one of my priorities. Providing factual info is key to helping people make the best informed decisions about their health. Quote from Dr. Califf


The growing spread of rumors, misinformation and disinformation about science, medicine, and the FDA, is putting patients and consumers at risk. We’re here to provide the facts. 

Help stop rumors from spreading by doing three easy things:

  1. Don’t believe the rumors.
  2. Don’t pass them along.
  3. Get health information from trusted sources like the FDA and our government partners, such as usa.gov/health, coronavirus.gov and vaccines.gov.


No, repeated vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines does not make individuals more susceptible to emerging COVID-19 variants. 

The Emerging COVID-19 variants, like XBB, XBB.1 and XBB 1.5 are currently the predominantly circulating variants in the U.S., leading to a moderate increase in cases, but no evidence of increased severity at this time. There is no clear or compelling evidence that repeated vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines makes people more susceptible to the XBB, XBB.1 or XBB 1.5 variants. Well-designed clinical trial evidence demonstrated that the updated COVID-19 vaccines given as boosters elicited superior neutralizing antibody response compared to the original (monovalent) boosters, and are therefore expected to provide notable efficacy against symptomatic and severe disease from the BA.4/BA.5 variants.  
Additionally, based on what is known about their viral neutralizing ability (Neutralization against BA.2.75.2, BQ.1.1, and XBB from mRNA Bivalent Booster | NEJM), it is very likely that the current bivalent COVID-19 vaccines provide at least some protection against the XBB, XBB.1 and XBB 1.5 variants. Most importantly, multiple studies have shown that staying up to date on vaccination provides the best protection against severe COVID-19, which can lead to hospitalization or death. 
The most recent studies (here and here) about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines show that the vaccines continue to provide a benefit, particularly in older individuals. 

No, the FDA has not found any new causal relationships between the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and potential adverse events of special interest identified in 2021. 

The FDA continues to find that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine meets the FDA’s rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness and the agency strongly believes the potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the potential risks of COVID-19. More information: Initial Results of Near Real-Time Safety Monitoring of COVID-19 Vaccines in Persons Aged 65 Years and Older.

Yes, the FDA evaluated data from studies in people to support the emergency use authorization of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

The bivalent COVID-19 vaccines that the FDA has authorized for use as a single booster dose for individuals in certain age groups (or updated boosters) are expected to provide an immune response that is broadly protective against COVID-19 and better protects against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant currently causing the most cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent each include the following: an mRNA component of the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus and an mRNA component in common between the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. 
The COVID-19 vaccines authorized or approved by the FDA and given to millions of people in the U.S. since December 2020 contain a component of the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. These vaccines are monovalent vaccines.
The FDA’s evaluation of each bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster included consideration of the following data:
  • Safety and immune response data obtained from studies conducted in people of a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that contained mRNA from omicron variant BA.1 lineage and was similar to each of the authorized bivalent COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Extensive safety and effectiveness data for each of the monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, which have been given to millions of people, including during the omicron waves of COVID-19.
  • Nonclinical data obtained using a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that contained mRNA of the original strain and mRNA in common between the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variant.
Based on the data supporting each of these authorizations, the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters are expected to provide increased protection against the currently circulating Omicron variant. 
Bivalent and multivalent vaccines are very common – an example is the influenza vaccine. The FDA has approved numerous multivalent vaccines for the prevention of influenza disease. Influenza vaccines are updated annually and currently contain four different strains of influenza virus to protect against the influenza virus strains that are likely to cause the most illness during the flu season in the U.S.

No, the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine doesn’t contain pesticides.

The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine does not contain pesticides. 
In fact, the ingredients for the FDA-authorized Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the FDA-approved Spikevax are listed in the product labeling for each product, and the vaccines do not include any pesticides. The claim that the military found pesticides in the vaccine is completely false. You can see for yourself: Spikevax and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine | FDA

Yes, pregnant and breastfeeding people can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine and should discuss the potential benefits and risks of vaccination with your health care provider. There is no evidence that any vaccines, including coronavirus vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men. Learn more by viewing this video: Just A Minute! with Dr. Peter Marks - Do the COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or might become pregnant in the future, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated.

Yes, all COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals, eggs, latex and gelatin.

All FDA-approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain ingredients needed to trigger your body’s natural immune response and help protect you from severe illness or death from COVID-19. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain eggs, gelatin, latex – or any metals.
Here’s what else they don’t have: any live virus. In fact, the active ingredient in three of the vaccines is a piece of genetic material that leads the body to briefly make a protein and generate a strong immune response that protects a vaccinated person against COVID-19. Another vaccine contains a spike protein made in insect cells, and is combined with an adjuvant to enhance the immune response in vaccinated persons.
There are some other components in the vaccines as well, such as lipids, salts and as mentioned above one vaccine includes an adjuvant that contains saponin extracts from bark of the Soapbark tree. But certainly no microchips. If you still have questions or concerns, talk to your health care provider.

No, COVID-19 vaccines don’t cause monkeypox or COVID-19.

None of the FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines can cause monkeypox. The vaccines will not infect you with SARS-CoV-2 or the monkeypox virus. They do not contain these viruses. 
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine/Comirnaty and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine/Spikevax are made using genetic material (mRNA). They deliver a piece of mRNA that activates the immune system to react defensively to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The mRNA is only present in the body for a short time – it’s not incorporated into, nor does it alter a person’s genetic material.
Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted contains the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and Matrix-M adjuvant. Adjuvants are incorporated into some vaccines to enhance the immune response of the vaccinated individual. The spike protein in this vaccine is produced in insect cells; adjuvant contains saponin extracts from the bark of a tree.

Video Gallery

Why should I get my child an updated COVID-19 vaccine?

Why should I get the updated COVID-19 vaccine now?

What is a bivalent vaccine? 

What is in the authorized updated (bivalent) COVID-19 boosters?

What data support the use of the updated COVID-19 boosters?

Is it OK to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding? Do the COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?

See more videos on Rumor Control

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