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Misinformation is killing people. Here's the truth about COVID-19 vaccines

Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued his first formal health advisory last week, warning Americans that misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines poses an “imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health.”

Such advisories are typically used to flag the dangers of tobacco use or the opioid epidemic. Murthy’s was the first to target vaccine disinformation.

“Simply put, health misinformation has cost us lives,” he said.

The surgeon general’s warning came as many Americans’ reluctance — and sometimes downright refusal — to roll up their sleeves for the vaccination has left wide swaths of the country vulnerable to the more contagious delta variant.

“The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated,” President Joe Biden lamented last week.

Now, the overwhelming majority of COVID-19 deaths are among those who haven’t gotten the vaccination.


“It’s really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said this month on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Yet the misinformation continues to circulate, and vaccine doses remain unused. So we asked to two experts to evaluate four common arguments and explain why they’re wrong.

—“I’ve already had COVID, so I don’t need the vaccine.”

Surviving a bout of COVID-19 probably won’t protect you as effectively as a full course of COVID-19 vaccine, experts say.


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