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US Fact check: Chet Hanks video makes false claim about vaccine safety and UFOs

18:35  25 september  2021
18:35  25 september  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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The claim: There's more evidence of UFOs being real than the COVID-19 vaccine being healthy for you

Actor and musician Chet Hanks, the son of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, claims there is more evidence supporting the existence of UFOs than for the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Hanks, whose parents were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic, recently took to Instagram to share his controversial stance on vaccinations.

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"There's more evidence of UFOs being real than that vaccine being healthy for you, just saying," Hanks asserts in an Aug. 11 video with more than 260,000 views. "If the aliens are out there, I'm ready for y'all to come get me."

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His comments follow a previous video, in which he jokingly encouraged people to get vaccinated and then yelled "PSYCH!" He proceeded to falsely compare the coronavirus pandemic to the flu.

Despite Hanks' viral video, data from clinical trials, peer-reviewed research studies and the vaccine rollout have shown all three vaccines authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are safe and effective. But there's no such firm evidence supporting the existence of UFOs.

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USA TODAY reached out to a spokesperson for Hanks for additional comment.

COVID-19 vaccines safe, effective

COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and effective. They prevent hospitalizations, deaths and illnesses, contrary to Hanks' claim, which is based on false and misleading information.

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Clinical trials involving tens of thousands of participants found the vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19.

A clinical trial for the Moderna vaccine studied more than 30,000 participants and found it was 94% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 cases. Similarly, a trial for Pfizer’s vaccine that studied approximately 43,000 participants concluded the shot was 95% effective. A trial with more than 43,000 enrolled participants for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine found the shot was 85% effective in preventing severe diseases.

The trials found "no specific safety concerns identified that would preclude issuance of an" emergency use authorization, according to FDA briefing documents for each vaccine.

For months, the FDA has authorized all three vaccines for emergency use. On Aug. 8, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that the FDA could give full approval for the vaccines by the end of August.

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The evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective doesn't just come from clinical trials. The vaccine rollout has proved the shots work.

Dr. Rochelle Wolensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in mid-July that more than 97% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated. A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of state data shows unvaccinated Americans make up more than 94% of COVID-19 cases. Nearly all deaths are among unvaccinated people, too.

As of Aug. 12, approximately 59.2% of the U.S. population has had at least one COVID-19 shot. Since December, more than 351 million vaccine doses have been administered, according to the CDC.

If the vaccines weren't safe, it stands to reason that there would be widespread, confirmed reports of severe side effects. But there aren't.

Some serious side effects reported after vaccination, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and thrombocytopenia syndrome – a blood clotting disorder – are rare, according to an Aug. 13 CDC report. Researchers analyzed confirmed side effects reported to the federal government's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and found the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks.

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For example, the report found that every 1 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are likely to prevent about 1,800 hospitalizations and 140 deaths, while causing 14 to 17 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome and one to two cases of the blood clotting disorder.

Widespread misperceptions about the safety of the vaccines also don't hold water.

Some people claim vaccines were developed too quickly, therefore they can't be safe. However, the coronavirus spike protein was identified approximately 20 years ago, which helped accelerate the vaccine development process.

Persistent claims that vaccines change your DNA, or that they aren't safe for pregnant women have been previously debunked. On Aug. 11, the CDC said pregnant women should be vaccinated against COVID-19, based on an analysis that did not show an increased risk of miscarriage.

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No firm conclusions from UFO report

Hanks' claim that there is evidence to support the existence of UFOs likely stems from a June 25 report from the office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence that did not draw any "firm conclusions" about reported sightings.

Out of 144 "unidentified aerial phenomena" (UAP) sightings between 2004 and 2021, only one could be explained: It was a large, deflating balloon.

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"In a limited number of incidents, UAP reportedly appeared to exhibit unusual flight characteristics," the report says. "These observations could be the result of sensor errors, spoofing, or observer misperception and require additional rigorous analysis."

Sightings of aerial phenomena often include weather incidents, routine natural events, weather balloons or misfires in sensor systems and cameras, officials say.

Investigators did not find any evidence the sightings were linked to aliens, but they did not rule out the possibility. Ultimately, the report concluded there is no definitive explanation behind aerial phenomena spotted by military pilots.

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Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that there is more evidence UFOs exist than that the COVID-19 vaccine is healthy for you. All three vaccines authorized by the FDA in the U.S. have been found to be safe and effective at preventing deaths, hospitalizations and illnesses, as shown in both clinical trials and the hundreds of millions of vaccinations administered. Meanwhile, a government report found no evidence showing any unidentified flying objects were of alien origin.

Our fact-check sources:

  • USA TODAY, Aug. 5, Fact check: 6 of the most persistent misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccines
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aug. 6, New CDC Study: Vaccination Offers Higher Protection than Previous COVID-19 Infection
  • World Health Organization, accessed Aug. 13, Are vaccines safe?
  • USA TODAY, Jan. 21, Fact check: The vaccine for COVID-19 has been nearly 20 years in the making
  • USA TODAY, Aug. 12, Tracking COVID-19 vaccine distribution by state: How many people have been vaccinated in the US?
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aug. 12, Reported Adverse Events
  • USA TODAY, June 28, Fact check: Vaccine Adverse Reporting System isn't proof of COVID-19 vaccine deaths
  • USA TODAY, May 9, Fact check: No evidence that a 2-year-old died after getting Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
  • USA TODAY, Dec. 29, Fact check: pregnant women do receive vaccines, but more study needed on COVID-19 shot
  • USA TODAY, May 28, Fact check: Moderna executive did not say mRNA vaccines alter recipient's DNA
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aug. 11, New CDC data: COVID-19 Vaccination Safe for Pregnant People
  • USA TODAY, May 28, Fact check: Peer-reviewed studies have shown safety, efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines
  • USA TODAY, June 25, 'Important first step': Highly anticipated UFO  report released with no firm conclusions
  • Office of the Director of National Intelligence, June 25, Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena
  • USA TODAY, June 4, Government UFO report finds no evidence flying objects are aliens but does not rule possibility out, reports say
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aug. 13, Use of COVID-19 Vaccines After Reports of Adverse Events Among Adult Recipients of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna): Update from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, July 2021
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dec. 10, Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dec. 17, Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Feb. 26, Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting
  • The White House, July 16, Press Briefing by White House COVID-⁠19 Response Team and Public Health Officials
  • Kaiser Family Foundation, accessed Aug. 13, COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Cases: Data from the States
  • Associated Press, June 29, Nearly all COVID deaths in US are now among unvaccinated

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Fact check: Chet Hanks video makes false claim about vaccine safety and UFOs

  Fact check: Chet Hanks video makes false claim about vaccine safety and UFOs A viral video by Chet Hanks contains misinformation about COVID-19 vaccine safety and UFOs. Abundant evidence shows vaccines are safe and effective.Hanks, whose parents were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic, recently took to Instagram to share his controversial stance on vaccinations.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Chet Hanks video makes false claim about vaccine safety and UFOs

California to require COVID-19 vaccines for schoolchildren .
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California will become the first U.S. state to require COVID-19 vaccinations for children to attend public and private schools in person in a mandate that could effect millions of students. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced that the coronavirus shot will be added to 10 other immunizations already required for school kids, including those for measles and mumps. Exemptions would be granted for medical reasons or because of religious or personal beliefs but the exemption rules haven't been written yet pending public comment.Any student without an exemption who refuses to get the vaccine would be forced to do independent study at home.

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