Social media users this week falsely suggested baseball legend Hank Aaron’s death was caused by a COVID-19 vaccine.
CapRadio anchor Steve Milne spoke with PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols about that and other examples of vaccine misinformation in this week’s Can You Handle The Truth segment.
On what the posts allege
They are strongly and falsely implying that Aaron died from the COVID-19 vaccine that he received in early January. PolitiFact and other news outlets examined these claims and found there is no evidence to support them. In fact, just the opposite. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office told PolitiFact that there was no indication that the vaccine contributed to his death. That office said Aaron appeared to have died of natural causes.
One of the saddest parts about all this misinformation is that Aaron himself was really proud to publicly take the vaccine so that he could help build trust among Americans who are worried about its safety.
“I feel quite proud of myself for doing something like this," Aaron told the Associated Press. "It’s just a small thing that can help zillions of people in this country.”
And then of course we saw those posts that had no connection to reality.
On what public health experts have said about vaccine safety
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has spoken publicly about them many times. He has knocked down this idea that the speed with which the vaccines were developed means they are not safe -- Some people expressed concern that corners were cut or there were political motivations. Here’s what Fauci told ABC in December:
"The speed was not at all at the sacrifice of safety," Fauci told ABC in December. "The speed was the reflection of extraordinary advances in the science of vaccine platform technology."
Fauci in a separate interview also talked about all of the trials done on these vaccines, making the point there is a record to show the safety of the vaccines.
“We’ve had clinical trials, and thanks to the volunteers, in tens of thousands who have put themselves on the line to prove to the country and the world that these are safe and effective products," he said.
On other misinformation about vaccines
There’s really been a lot of bad information on this topic, and these false claims have spread in online communities that are skeptical of medical science and the power of the federal government.
PolitiFact has fact-checked many unproven and inaccurate claims on this topic. Those include the false allegations that say the coronavirus vaccines can cause death and infertility; that all Americans will be forced to get vaccinated; and even the really wild claims that say the vaccines are part of a larger plan to implant people with microchips.
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.