The misinformation and disinformation available on social media and other communication channels shows no sign of slowing down. At the Department of Health and Welfare, it is our responsibility and obligation to share accurate and timely information with all Idahoans. It is important to us that you have a place to turn to and a source for truth.
There is still much to learn about the coronavirus and COVID-19. New information from peer-reviewed studies accepted by the scientific community becomes available all the time. This is information from the experts that we can all trust. We are committed to sharing what we know now and will continue to share new information as it becomes available. Below is some of the false and misleading information we continue to see online, and my response to that information, based on discussions and consultations with the experts at DHW.
FICTION: Vaccines are failing and the vaccinated are spreading the Delta variant of COVID-19.
FACT: In a phone briefing in August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director stated that a small number of vaccinated people who are infected with the Delta variant can have a similar viral load as infected unvaccinated people. A rumor quickly spread that the director said that the COVID-19 vaccines are failing.
The truth is that vaccinated people in Idaho are five times less likely than unvaccinated people to contract Delta, making it much harder for them to spread it to others. The vaccines are not failing – they provide excellent protection against hospitalization and death from COVID-19. But they are not perfect, and it is possible to become infected even after vaccination. However, people who receive the vaccine and do become infected are less likely to have serious illness resulting in hospitalization or death.
FICTION: The rising COVID-19 cases are in vaccinated individuals.
FACT: A social media account made this claim, and it quickly gathered steam online. This is patently false. The vast majority of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are among the unvaccinated. You can find more Idaho-specific information on our COVID-19 dashboard, under the Case Characteristics page.
FICTION: DHW and other healthcare organizations are getting paid by pharmaceutical companies to promote the COVID-19 vaccine.
FACT: This is absolutely false. Pharmaceutical companies are not paying us or healthcare organizations to promote the vaccine. Our mission is to help keep Idahoans safe and healthy so our children can stay in school, our economy can thrive, and our hospitals and healthcare systems can maintain capacity to treat everyone who needs care. We do not want anyone to feel the effects of COVID-19, because they can be devastating. We want to help protect you, your family, and your community. Vaccinations work, and we want to promote what works.
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:
- Idaho’s Coronavirus Website: see a timeline, the most current data on cases, vaccine, and more.
- Idaho Rebounds Website
- CDC Coronavirus Disease Website
- DHW Website
DHW also posts factual COVID-19 information daily on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
I hope you all have a safe and healthy weekend.