Newsletter falsely links higher vaccination rates to COVID-19-related deaths

An anti-vaccine newsletter republished part of an article from a San Jose, California, newspaper about an analysis by its publisher alleging that while California’s white populations initially saw fewer COVID-19-related deaths due to economic advantages, the numbers have changed. According to the analysis, white people accounted for 60 percent of COVID-19-related deaths in California between September 2023 and February 2024, despite having higher vaccination rates than other populations. Some comments on the newsletter claim that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe, while others express concerns that the author has misrepresented data to make false claims about COVID-19 vaccine safety.

Recommendation: While responding directly to the false claims in this newsletter may detract from priority talking points, online conversations about this newsletter provide an opportunity for health departments, community-based organizations, and other partners in California to circulate existing content around COVID-19 vaccine safety. Messaging may emphasize that COVID-19 vaccines have been rigorously tested and have been determined to be safe, and a 2023 analysis found that higher COVID-19 vaccination coverage was associated with lower all-cause mortality rates across 178 countries. In addition to preventing COVID-19-related deaths, COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of hospitalization and long COVID.