US Fact check: Doctors aren't pushing an 'untested' seasonal flu vaccine for the coronavirus
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Now, four months later, less than a third of Americans (32 percent) say they plan to get vaccinated, according to the latest Yahoo News/YouGov poll — a stunning 23-point decline that reflects rising concern about the politicization of the vaccine process and underscores how challenging it will be to stop the pandemic through vaccination alone. As recently as late July, 42 percent of Americans had said they planned to get vaccinated, meaning 10 percent of the public has moved into the “no” or “not sure” column over the last month or so. © Provided by Yahoo! News The question is why.
The claim: Doctors are pushing an 'untested' flu vaccine with a 'very low strain' of the coronavirus in it
As, doctors around the country are advocating that people receive the seasonal influenza vaccine, which amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They say having more defenses against the seasonal flu will help put less strain on the medical system, which will then help the country have more capacity to combat the novel coronavirus.
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But some claims on social media have advised against taking the vaccine by incorrectly conflating the flu shot with a potential vaccine for the coronavirus, the latter of which is still in development.
Facebook user Madyson Marquette on Sept. 15regarding the flu shot. During the exchange, she said, her son's doctor told her the strain of the flu for the shot was "Covid, but a very low strain of it." The implication is that "Covid" is referring to the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, the disease that .
Marquette's post says she told the doctor she wouldn't give her child an "untested Covid flu shot." She alleges the doctor said they were pushing it because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking them to.
"Wake UP and for all (that) is Holy DO NOT GIVE your children a Covid vaccine!!" her post said.
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Marquette's post had more than 7,000 shares as of Friday afternoon. She did not return a USA TODAY request for additional information.
The coronavirus is not a strain of the flu, and it's not in the flu shot
Both the seasonal flu and the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, are.
But SARS-CoV-2 is not a strain of the flu. Instead, it's part of a family of coronaviruses that includes some that give people upper respiratory illnesses. Experts say the novel coronavirus.
This year's flu shot neither contains the coronavirus, nor elements meant to protect people from it.
Each year, researchers update the flu shot in order to protect those who receive it from strains of the influenza virus. The shot protects against either three strains (trivalent) or four strains (quadrivalent). Changes for the 2020-2021 flu vaccine, but there are no additions to the shot listed to combat coronaviruses, according to the CDC's website.
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In comments to media outlets Thursday Fauci sought to reassure the public amid a dispute between Trump and the CDC over vaccines."Do you assure all of us that if the corners have been cut, if there is something sideways or wrong with the process, that you will tell us and take the heat for that?" MSNBC's Chris Hayes asked Fauci.
A Reuters fact-check that reviewed the contents of flu vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration foundor other coronaviruses.
, according to the CDC, meaning no child or adult would be offered an "untested" flu shot by a doctor.
The flu shot, explained:
Also, neither the CDC nor any physician is pushing a coronavirus vaccine because there isn't one to push. The vaccinefor sure when one will become widely available in the United States.
According to, 40 vaccines are in clinical trials on humans, and at least 92 are being tested on animals. Some vaccines in China and Russia have been approved for early or limited use, but none has reached the point of being administered to the American public.
Medical professionals have alsowould be more likely to test positive for the coronavirus or become sick with it. , there's no evidence that either would occur. The CDC also says the flu vaccine .
Our ruling: False
While the exact wording of the verbal exchange between the author of the Facebook post and her son's pediatrician is unknown, her post contains multiple false claims.
COVID-19 is not a strain of the flu — it's a coronavirus — and would not be present in a seasonal flu vaccine. The current flu shot does not contain the novel coronavirus, nor is there evidence that receiving the shot would increase or decrease a person's chances of catching COVID-19. Each flu shot is scrutinized and approved by the FDA, so it's not "untested." And, no coronavirus vaccine has made it beyond the clinical trial stage in the U.S., and is thus not available to the public at this point.
Trump's Covid-19 vaccine timeline is seriously wishful thinking. Here's why.
Creating a safe vaccine is just one step. We then need to distribute it to a huge number of Americans.There’s an obvious political reason why Trump — or other lawmakers — might wish to get our hopes up about a vaccine before the November election. But based on my 35 years spent developing drugs for serious medical conditions, including AIDS and sepsis, this is unlikely to happen as quickly as some politicians have told us.
For those reasons, we rate this post as FALSE.
Our fact-check sources:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 12, 2018,
- USA Today, Aug. 17,
- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Sept. 18,
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aug. 31,
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aug. 31,
- Reuters, Sept. 18,
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sept. 10,
- USA Today, Sept. 17,
- The New York Times, Sept. 18,
- USA Today, April 1,
Ian Richardson covers the Iowa Statehouse for the Des Moines Register. Reach him at, or on Twitter at .
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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
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