Viral social media post demands support for Ohio bill that would prevent discrimination based on vaccination status

A recent social media post from an anti-vaccine account shared a story of a pharmacist who claims to have developed Guillain-Barré syndrome after having received a COVID-19 vaccine as mandated by their employer. The post then urged followers to support Ohio House Bill 319, which aims to prevent discrimination based on vaccine refusal. As of June 18, the post received 2.3 million views, 1,400 comments, and 19,000 shares. Many comments on the post advocated against vaccine mandates and falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous.

Recommendation: Vaccine opponents often cite cases of alleged vaccine injuries to promote distrust in vaccination. These trending conversations provide an opportunity for health agencies, community-based organizations, and other partners to recirculate existing messaging about COVID-19 vaccine safety. Continuing to reiterate that COVID-19 vaccines have been rigorously tested and determined to be safe is recommended. If responding directly to misleading claims about the risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) after vaccination, messaging may emphasize that these cases are extremely rare. There is some evidence that receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine—which is no longer available in the U.S.—increases the risk of GBS in adults, but there is no evidence that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines increase the risk of GBS. Additionally, a 2023 study found that getting infected with COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk of GBS and that receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is associated with a decreased risk of GBS. Explaining that the benefits of vaccination outweigh any potential risks because staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines prevents severe illness, hospitalization, long COVID, and death is recommended.