Posts falsely claim that an appeals court ruled that COVID-19 vaccines aren’t vaccines

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the dismissal of a lawsuit against the state of California over the now-expired COVID-19 vaccine mandates for Los Angeles school employees. The ruling allows the case to move forward, a year after a lower district court dismissed the suit because a previous Supreme Court decision set the legal precedent for vaccine mandates to prevent disease spread. Prominent COVID-19 vaccine opponents, including a U.S. senator, are falsely claiming that the court ruled that COVID-19 vaccines are not really vaccines, that the mandate was unconstitutional, and that mRNA vaccines have been stripped of legal liability protection.

Recommendation: Engaging directly with the false claim that COVID-19 vaccines are not really vaccines may detract from key talking points. However, trending conversations about this ruling provide an opportunity to recirculate existing content about the safety and necessity of COVID-19 vaccines. Continuing to reiterate that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been rigorously tested and determined to be safe—as adverse effects are extremely rare—is recommended. Updating informational materials, including websites and FAQ materials, with messaging explaining how mRNA vaccines work is also recommended.