Facts Matter: Flu shot won't give you flu, but false info goes viral

  • A customer gets a flu shot at a Walgreens in Arlington Heights. Scientists say you can't get the flu from the shot, in spite of false social media claims to the contrary.

      A customer gets a flu shot at a Walgreens in Arlington Heights. Scientists say you can't get the flu from the shot, in spite of false social media claims to the contrary. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/21/2019 6:19 AM

As flu season approaches, some false information about the virus has gone viral.

A Facebook post earlier this month falsely claimed people who get a flu shot are contagious for the next two weeks, according to PolitiFact.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Folks who get flu shots please have some respect and courtesy and stay home for minimal (sic) of 2 weeks while you are an active live walking virus. Also don't hug others and give kisses and please immediately tell others you were vaccinated so they don't come close to you," the post said.

But a flu shot won't transmit the infection, PolitiFact said. The shot contains an inactivated virus that cannot give people the flu.

"The injectable flu vaccine is composed of selected parts of the influenza virus and cannot reassemble itself into the complete virus in the human body," William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University professor and infectious disease specialist, told PolitiFact. "Thus, it is impossible for the flu vaccine to cause influenza."

This falsehood has been around for awhile, PolitiFact said. The claim tops the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's list of misconceptions about the flu and a 2015 study found 43% of the public believe you can get the flu from the flu vaccine. For more, visit cdc.gov/flu/prevent/misconceptions.htm. http://bit.ly/2oRbZ9E

Banner on Trump hotel digitally added

A video showing a banner hanging from Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas is fake, according to the Associated Press.

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The banner, shown at the top of the building under the name "Trump" and saying, "Betrayed and murdered the Kurdish people! Greenpeace," was digitally added to a video of the hotel, the AP said. A caption with the post reads, "Happening right now at the Trump Tower Hotel in Las Vegas."

The video was altered by Twitter user @PaulLidicul after President Donald Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, the AP said.

When some Twitter users pointed out that the banner was fake, @PaulLidicul responded with, "whether that banner was physically or digitally put there is irrelevant -- the statement is MADE, the public outrage is REAL and the message is spread," according to Snopes.com.

Greenpeace, which appears on the banner as the source of the statement, denied involvement in the post, the AP said.

"We want to make clear that this is a computer generated animation and not executed by Greenpeace," the group said on Twitter.

The video racked up more than 3 million views shortly after it was posted, the AP said. Read more at http://bit.ly/2MnC3ly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Obamas not involved in admission scandal

A recent Facebook post falsely links Barack Obama's family to the college admission scandal Operation Varsity Blues, according to PolitiFact.com.

Federal investigators in March accused 30 people, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, of using bribes to influence college admissions for their children at top universities.

The false post shared by American Web Media displays a photo of Barack Obama with the headline "Obama's connection to scandal revealed," PolitiFact said. The caption reads "The Obama family has now been connected to the country's biggest scandal."

The Obamas are not linked to any criminal activity in the scandal, PolitiFact said. The headline is "clickbait" designed to have users follow the link to the American Web Media article.

The article reveals the connection: Michelle Obama and daughter Malia once took tennis lessons from a Georgetown University coach who was later accused of taking bribes as part of the Operation Varsity Blues investigation, PolitiFact said. The article also states, "There is no link between the Obamas and this college admission scandal."

The post with the false information has been shared more than 1,200 times and has received more than 2,000 comments, PolitiFact said. See http://bit.ly/2MsR0TG

Footage from Kentucky, not Syria

Following President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the Middle East, Turkey launched military strikes against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

During an Oct. 13 report, ABC's "World News Tonight" aired a video that appeared to show Turkey bombing the Kurds, <URL destination=" https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/abc-video-syrian-war-footage/">according to Snopes.com.

</URL>But the footage is actually of a nighttime machine-gun shooting at the Knob Creek Gun Range in Kentucky, Snopes said. ABC also aired the video the next day on "Good Morning America."

ABC admitted the error and apologized.

"We've taken down video that aired on 'World News Tonight Sunday' and 'Good Morning America' that appeared to be from the Syrian border immediately after questions were raised about its accuracy," an ABC spokesman said in a statement.

A source from ABC said the video came from a person claiming to be in a sensitive position on the Turkey-Syria border, Snopes said at http://bit.ly/2Mrt4jh.

The video has been online since at least 2017, according to Snopes.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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