Facts Matter: Illness attributed to vaccine is made up
The COVID-19 vaccines, posts on Twitter and Reddit claim, can cause a new illness named vaccine acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or VAIDS.
"(The condition is) similar to AIDS but caused by the C19 jabs," one post claimed.
But VAIDS isn't a real illness, according to the Associated Press. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the vaccines actually boost the immune response.
"There is no vaccine-induced counterpart of AIDS," Dr. Grant McFadden, Biodesign Center director at Arizona State University, told the AP.
With the number of people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, "if such a thing as VAIDS existed, we would have detected it by now," McFadden said.
Other false posts regarding the vaccine's effect on the immune system claim the shot destroys the body's T-cells and causes autoimmune disease.
Ivanka Trump not planning run against father
An online video suggests Ivanka Trump, daughter of former President Donald Trump, will be switching sides.
"Ivanka Trump is joining the Democrats to run against her dad," headlines the video recently posted on Facebook.
But there is no evidence to support this claim, according to PolitiFact.
Beyond the title, the nearly 10-minute clip doesn't talk about Ivanka challenging her father, or anyone else, for the presidency. It focuses mainly on the possibility of Trump making another run for president in 2024 and speculates on a possible running mate if former Vice President Mike Pence isn't chosen. The beginning of the video asks, "Is Ivanka really going to be Trump's 2024 running mate?"
The former first daughter was once a Democrat, donating to Democratic politicians, PolitiFact said, but in 2018 changed her voter registration to Republican and later declared, "I am a proud Trump Republican."
Social media photo misrepresents Earth
A photo circulating on social media earlier this month supposedly shows the dangers of climate change.
"Scientists have released this image of what Earth will look like in 20 years from space if we don't reverse climate change today," reads a tweet that includes a photo of a cloudy, brown planet.
Some users likened the post to other predictions.
"New climate alarmism prediction just dropped!" read a Facebook post. "For those keeping track at home, we can add this to the long list of catastrophic climate predictions that have just *slightly* missed the mark."
But the photo doesn't show Earth in 20 years, according to Reuters. It's a photo of the planet Venus from more than 40 years ago.
The image was taken Feb. 26, 1979, by the Pioneer Venus Orbiter, which consisted of two spacecraft studying the planet. The photo is part of the Space Science Data Coordinated Archive at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, and is labeled, "Ultraviolet image of Venus' clouds."
The tweet appears to be satire, Reuters said. One of the original posts with misinformation about the Venus photo came from an account that had previously posted an image of the Mediterranean Sea superimposed over the United States, claiming it was a depiction of how sea levels will rise due to climate change.
Reindeer's eyes colored in photo
As Christmas approaches, reindeer have become the subject of fake news.
Side-by-side photos posted on Facebook show close-ups of a reindeer's eye; one is a light brown while the other is purplish-blue.
"Did you know? Reindeer"s (sic) eyes are golden in the summer, but turn a deep blue in the winter to capture more light!" the Dec. 9 post reads. "They're the only known mammal to have this interesting feature!"
But this post is misleading, according to USA Today. The eyes do change color with the seasons, but the change is in the back of the eye and can't be seen.
"These images are wrong. The front of the eye looks exactly the same between summer and winter," University College London Institute of Ophthalmology neuroscientist Glen Jeffery told USA Today.
Arctic reindeer experience long days of light in the summer and nearly complete darkness in the winter. During the dark months, the reindeer's pupil remains dilated, causing the color change, Yale School of Medicine professor Caroline Zeiss told USA Today. In the summer, the pressure to dilate the eye is "relieved and the eye reflects a yellow to green wavelength."
• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at email@example.com.