Reliable Vaccine Resources
Learn to spot COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and evaluate sources for credibility.
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The COVID-19 Vaccine
Fight Vaccine Misinformation
As COVID-19 research continues, gaps in knowledge make room for misinformation. Unlike disinformation, which is an intentional lie meant to cause harm, misinformation is spread by people who do not know they're sharing false info. The spread of misinformation on social media and other channels can deter people from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
How can you fight back? By learning to identify accurate sources of information and by thinking carefully before you share.
How do I know I'm getting accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines?
points to remember
Not all the vaccine information you see online is accurate. Even when a close friend or family member shares COVID-19 vaccine information, it's important to evaluate the source.
Misinformation usually starts with a kernel of truth. Just because someone quotes real data doesn't mean they are providing the correct context or interpretation.
Not all healthcare workers are vaccine experts. While you should certainly talk to your own healthcare provider about your concerns, look for information online that is vetted by immunologists, virologists, or epidemiologists.
There are simple signs you can look for that will help you determine the credibility of sources.
- What sources can I trust to share up-to-date, accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines?
In general, you can trust organizations in these three categories to provide science-backed information about vaccines.
Public health agencies
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)
Universities and hospitals
- Mayo Clinic
- Johns Hopkins University
- MUSC Health
- Lexington Medical Center
- Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Professional medical groups
Information shared by these societies is often intended for an audience of physicians. With that in mind, they're still good resources for evidence-based information about COVID-19 vaccines.
- What makes information from sources like the CDC trustworthy?
These organizations share information that is based on peer-reviewed science--this means that independent experts have evaluated and approved the science behind the information. They also make it easy for you to review the science on your own by pointing to specific research studies with clear authors.
Public health agencies, academic or medical institutions, and professional medical societies must work hard for credibility, and it's not in their best interest to share information that can be easily disproven by medical experts. They regularly review their material to make sure it's still accurate.
- What are some red flags to indicate that a source may not be reliable?
Indicators that the source may not be trustworthy include the following:
- There is no clear author, or the author has no credentials listed.
- The author/speaker says they are a "healthcare professional" but does not go into detail about their qualifications.
- They share statistics without referencing a research study as a source.
- The resource was published months ago and has not been updated to reflect new information.
UC San Francisco Health provides more helpful tips for evaluating health information and spotting red flags.
- My child is age 5+ and eligible for vaccination. Where can I go to learn about vaccination for children and teens?
Parents who want to do extra research about vaccines for children 5+ can use some of the same resources listed above. The CDC provides guidance on COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens, and the American Pediatric Association has compiled a variety of COVID-19 articles for parents on HealthyChildren.org.
We also recommend looking to children's hospitals such as:
- I'm pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. Is it safe for me to get vaccinated?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated for COVID-19. They point to increasing evidence of safe use of the vaccine during pregnancy, in addition to the fact that pregnant people are at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19 infection.
Here are some trustworthy sources for further reading on COVID-19 vaccines, pregnancy and fertility:
- What questions should I ask myself when evaluating a COVID-19 vaccine resource?
- What scientific evidence is referenced here?
- Is it easy for me to access the research studies behind this information?
- What are the credentials of the person who gave this information?
- Have major media outlets reported this information? If so, are they all saying the same thing?
- How current is this information?
- What about "alternative" treatments for COVID-19?
Unproven therapies like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine should not be used to treat COVID-19. Studies have shown that self-treating with these substances has no medical benefit and can cause serious harm including heart problems, kidney failure, and death.
Monoclonal antibodies have been given emergency use authorization for certain high-risk patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 but are not hospitalized. They can shorten the duration of symptoms and reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. Timing of giving monoclonal antibodies is very important, so talk to your provider as soon as you test positive for COVID-19 to see if you meet the criteria for receiving them. In addition, remdesivir is a medication that can help some patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19. Although these can help those who have COVID-19, the best treatment is still prevention. Monoclonal antibodies and other treatments are no substitute for the free COVID-19 vaccine, which has been proven to significantly reduce death and hospitalization from COVID-19.
Mythbusting Social Post
Below are social media messages that combat common misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Click the download button below to get any of these graphics sized for Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook.
Does your COVID-19 vaccine info come from a reliable source? Visit stayscstrong.com/reliable-vaccine-resources for tips on how to spot vaccine misinformation and find trustworthy sources. #VaxSC
Here's how to talk to hesitant family & friends
Download our Vaccine Conversation Starters PDF for tips on how to share accurate information with people in your life who are not vaccinated.
More Vaccine Resources
Visit Our Vaccine Toolkit
Want to spread the word about COVID-19 vaccines? Check out our Vaccine Toolkit for suggested email copy, social media captions and graphics, and posters.