Misleading claims about doctors being “bribed” to give COVID-19 vaccines resurface

Several social media posts in both English and Spanish resurfaced the misleading claim that health insurance programs “bribed” doctors to administer COVID-19 vaccines. A far-right site posted a video of an anti-vaccine doctor “revealing” that “doctors were being bribed to push” the vaccine. 

Recommendation: This misleading claim has been circulating since 2022 and may undermine patients’ perception of the necessity of COVID-19 vaccines. If directly debunking this claim, doctors and other health care professionals may explain that the incentives that some health insurance companies offer are not bribes. They are programs not only surrounding vaccination that vary by state and are meant to boost patient health outcomes. These companies recognize that vaccinations are an important part of keeping patients healthy by reducing their risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases, which in turn reduces health care costs. Continuing to reiterate that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and prevent severe illness, hospitalization, death, and long COVID is recommended. The CDC recommends the updated COVID-19 vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.