From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Correcting COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation takes all of us

Every day, our public health officials, doctors, nurses, and others are responding to the ongoing pandemic and the surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths in our own state. They are exhausted and disheartened. And, on another front, we face the continued challenge of responding to the overabundance of misinformation and disinformation related to the virus on social media. Much of this information could be harmful.

I want to address information you might see on social media platforms that is patently false and misleading.

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FICTION: The mRNA vaccine alters your DNA.

FACT: No. (Read more about this in my DHW Voice blog from Aug. 27)

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FICTION: Public health officials, doctors, nurses, hospitals (and others in healthcare) get paid to specifically talk about the COVID-19 vaccine and encouraging others to get the vaccine.

FACT: No, this is false.

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FICTION: Natural immunity is better than vaccine immunity.

FACT: Although natural immunity can provide protection against COVID-19, it is unreliable, as not everyone who recovers from COVID-19 develops enough antibodies to fight reinfection. It’s also dangerous to purposefully get naturally immune because people can only obtain natural immunity by contracting a serious and potentially deadly disease that can have long-term effects. It is recommended that that even those who have had COVID-19 also get vaccinated. A recent study in Kentucky found that reinfection risk in people who got vaccinated after being infected with COVID-19 was reduced by more than two times compared to those who did not get vaccinated after having had COVID-19.  

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FICTION: The approved Pfizer vaccine differs from the vaccine administered under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

FACT: This is false. The Pfizer vaccine, which was approved by the Food & Drug Administration, is the exact same vaccine that was administered under the EUA. The Pfizer vaccine is now using the name Comirnaty, but it is the same vaccine.

It is common for drugs to be referred to by names used in clinical trials until they are approved by the FDA, at which point they receive a brand name. Prior to FDA approval, the vaccine developed and distributed by Pfizer and BioNTech was named BNT162b2 but called the Pfizer or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for clarity. The only difference between FDA-approved Comirnaty and the FDA-authorized Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the labeling.

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FICTION: Ivermectin is an approved treatment for COVID-19.

FACT: The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.

Currently available data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19. Clinical trials assessing ivermectin tablets for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in people are ongoing.

Taking large doses of ivermectin is dangerous and can have serious side effects.

The following statement dated Feb. 4, 2021, appears on the Merck (manufacturer of ivermectin) website:

Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today affirmed its position regarding use of ivermectin during the COVID-19 pandemic. Company scientists continue to carefully examine the findings of all available and emerging studies of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 for evidence of efficacy and safety. It is important to note that, to-date, our analysis has identified:

  • No scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies
  • No meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease
  • A concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies

We do not believe that the data available support the safety and efficacy of ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency-approved prescribing information.

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FICTION: Japan has approved ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment.

FACT: There is a widely shared viral video that claims to show the chair of the Tokyo Medical Association recommending ivermectin for COVID-19 patients. The chair and his organization are not part of Japan’s Health Ministry, which oversees drug approvals and provides official health guidance. Ivermectin is not among the drugs approved for COVID-19 treatment in Japan.

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The COVID-19 vaccine remains the safest, surest way to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious illness and hospitalization. I wouldn’t write that in this blog if I weren’t sure of it. I hope you’ll consider getting vaccinated if you haven’t already.

Stay up-to-date with the latest and most accurate information on COVID-19 at the following websites:

DHW also posts factual COVID-19 information daily on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

I hope you all have a safe and healthy weekend.

3 thoughts on “From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Correcting COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation takes all of us

  1. CB Reitz

    I appreciate your candor and your willingness to take the time to pursue your thoughts and I’m sure heart felt believes.
    Director, I’m sure you are aware that there are thousands of equally qualified, if not more so, professionals, working in their chosen fields, that not only disagree, totally, with what you say but can reveal to us uneducated social media dolts not only the lies being fed to the American people but prove it. Not much money earned on their part but more on your side of the show.
    I prefer my own council, thank ou.

  2. Robert

    Has there been any longitudinal studies done on the covid shot? Has the approval process been modified with this Covid shot which was historically different with all other vaccines? What is the current mortality rate of the Covid – 19 virus? What do the current facts point to as the source of the Covid virus? Can people who have had the shot spread the virus? Can people who have had the virus get it again? People who have had different diseases like chicken pox, are counseled to not get the Chicken Pox vaccine, is the same true with the Covid shot. Why or why not?

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