Large independent report on COVID-19 vaccine side effects sparks online conversation

Social media users in English and Spanish are discussing a major independent review published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The nonprofit evaluated real-world data, and drew several conclusions, including that although Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can cause myocarditis in rare cases, they do not cause infertility, Guillain-Barré syndrome, heart attack, Bell’s Palsy, or thrombosis. 

Recommendation: Online conversations about this report provide an opportunity to circulate existing content around COVID-19 vaccine safety and prebunk false claims about the risk of myocarditis after vaccination, as this report may provide a platform for vaccine opponents who cherry-pick data about myocarditis after vaccination. Messaging may emphasize that this report affirms that COVID-19 vaccines are safe; that other large-scale, credible, peer-reviewed studies consistently show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe; that cases of myocarditis after vaccination are extremely rare and typically mild across age groups; and that myocarditis is far more common after COVID-19 infection. Ensuring that informational materials explain how COVID-19 vaccines help to protect against COVID-19-related heart problems—as well as severe illness, death, and long COVID—is recommended.