There is no evidence that a door-to-door campaign to incentivize vaccinations against COVID-19 implies that President Joe Biden and Democrats “are going to his doorstep to force him to receive the vaccine,” as Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted. Greene also cited a number of reported deaths after vaccinations, which is not the same as deaths caused by vaccines.
President Joe Biden announced on July 6 that the next phase of his administration’s outreach program to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19 in the United States will include home visits by community volunteers to inform people about the safety and efficacy of available vaccines and to give them information on where they can receive them.
Based on that announcement, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene unfoundedly claimed that Biden and other Democrats were going to “force” the un vaccinated to receive the shot.
In a Tweet on July 9,the Republican congresswoman wrote, “5,946 reported deaths after receiving the #COVID19 vaccine. The vaccine is NOT approved by the FDA. 33,631,656 Americans SURVIVED COVID. But Biden and the Dems are going to your doorstep to force you to get the vaccine, schools say your healthy kids need it and do you still think you’re free?”
But there is no evidence that the White House will require someone whose home is visited to receive the vaccine as part of the outreach program.
Greene’s other claims, about the number of reported deaths following vaccination, the status of vaccine approval and the number of people who have survived COVID-19, lack relevant context and could mislead readers.
Door to door
In his July 6 remarks,Biden said that even though nearly 160 million U.S. residents are fully vaccinated and more than 180 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine, “millions of Americans have not yet been vaccinated and are unprotected” against COVID-19.
For this reason, he said, his administration will continue to focus on different ways to get even more people vaccinated.
“Because here’s the situation: We continue to decrease the mass vaccination sites that did so much in the spring to quickly vaccinate those who were eager to get their first shot, and their second, if that was the case, if they needed a second one,” Biden said. “Now we need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and sometimes door by door, literally knocking on doors, to help keep the people left protected from the virus.”
He added: “Look, equity, equality; making sure that the communities that have been hardest hit by the virus have the information and access to get vaccinated remains at the heart of our responsibility. So as we transition from these massive centers, mass vaccination centers, where we were doing thousands of people a day, we’re going to put even more emphasis on you being vaccinated in your community, near your home, in a convenient place that you’re already familiar with.”
Biden said this approach will allow more people to get vaccinated at their local pharmacy, their doctor’s office, their work or at a nearby mobile clinic.
Sin embargo, la secretaria de prensa de la Casa Blanca Jen Psaki ha dejado en claro que el gobierno federal no le exigirá a nadie que se vacune contra su voluntad.
“What we’re doing is local officials are going to areas where there are lower vaccination rates and delivering information about where people can get vaccinated, where they can go, make it free,” Psaki told reporters aboard the presidential plane Air Force One on July 7. “It’s the individuals who decide whether they want to get vaccinated or not.”
That was after he made similar comments about people’s freedom of choice in an interview given to CNN earlier that day.
Psaki and members of the White House’s COVID-19 response team have explained that the “trusted messengers” who will go door-to-door delivering information about vaccines will be doctors, religious and community leaders, and other volunteers – not federal employees. She said the campaign is in fact the continuation of an effort that has been going on since at least April.
“So, they are the people who are the trusted messengers across the country. And we believe we need to empower those individuals to continue working in communities and make sure people know that those vaccines are safe and can save lives,” Psaki said July 8 at a news conference.
Even before the first vaccines will be administered in mid-December, on Dec. 4 Biden himself said that, if he became president, he would not make a federal mandate for Americans to get vaccinated.
“No, I don’t think it should be mandatory,” then-presidential candidate Biden said in response to a question about possible mandates for vaccines. “I wouldn’t require it to be mandatory, but I would do everything in my power — just as I don’t think masks have to be imposed nationally — I’m going to do everything in my power as president of the United States to incentivize people to do the right thing.”
At a July 12 news conference,Psaki again said the federal government would not make vaccines mandatory, though she said the administration would support entities that do require vaccines.
“That’s not a decision we’re making. That’s not, that’s not our intention as a federal government,” he said in response to a question about local mandates. “There will be decisions made by private sector entities, by universities, by educational institutions, and perhaps even by local leaders, if they decide that this is how they can keep their community safe. If they decide to make that decision, we certainly support them in that step.”
We asked Greene’s office on what basis he based the claim that vaccines would be required as part of the door-to-door campaign. We have not yet received a reply.
Greene’s other assertions
Georgia’s new Republican congresswoman made other claims in the tweet we’ve already referred to.
He said there have been “5,946 reported deaths after receiving the #COVID19 vaccine,” leaving the misleading impression that the deaths were caused by the vaccines.
It is true that as of July 6, 5,946 deaths had been reported in the Vaccine Adverse Reaction Reporting System (VAERS). But “adverse reaction reports sent to VAERS after vaccination, including cases of deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine has caused a health problem, ” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
As we have previously written, anyone can submit a notification of an adverse event toVAERS, regardless of whether or not the vaccine was a factor. In the case of deaths, health care providers should “report any death following a COVID-19 vaccine to VAERS, even if it is unclear whether or not the vaccine was the cause,” the CDC says.
“After a review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy reports and medical records, no causal relationship was established with covid-19 vaccines,” the CDC says of the death reports. “However, there are recent reports indicating the possibility of a causal relationship between J&J/Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine and TTS, a serious and rare adversereaction—blood clots with low platelet counts—that has causeddeaths.”
As of July 6, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC had identified 38 cases of a rare picture of blood clots, known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS. There have been three deaths from the condition among those cases, as of May 7.
Greene also tweeted that “the vaccine is NOT FDA approved,” which is true, but misleading.
As we’ve said,the FDA has authorized three vaccines against COVID-19, including one manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, for emergency use. To deliver an emergency use authorization (EUA), regulators must determine that the product “can beeffective” and that”the known and potential benefits of a product outweigh its known and potential risks,” a standard that is typically less stringent than that of the full license, which is called a biological license application, or BLA.
However, for all three COVID-19 vaccines, the FDA established more stringent requirements for the U.S.,which resemble the process for a BLA. The FDA required “at least one well-designed Phase 3 clinical trial that demonstrates the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in a clear and convincing manner” and to see at least two months of follow-up information for half or more of the participants.
Greene omitted evidence from rigorous clinical trials and real-world vaccine application that shows vaccines are safe and effective.
According to CDC information,the average of seven days of daily deaths from COVID-19 has decreased by about 94% since vaccines became available in the U.S. The seven-day average of daily deaths was 2,779 on December 14; as of July 11, it dropped to 176.
Finally, in stating that “33,631,656 Americans SURVIVED covid,” Greene did not acknowledge that more than 600,000 deaths in the U.S. they have been attributed to this disease. Even some people who have survived the infection have reported symptoms and side effects of COVID-19 that persist for months.
What’s more, only a small percentage of recent COVID-19 deaths have been people vaccinated, according to government information.
At a White House COVID-19 response team press conference on July 1, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said “preliminary data from a set of states” since January “suggests that 99.5% of COVID-19 deaths in those states have occurred among unin vaccinated people.”
“With vaccines available across the country, the suffering and loss we’re seeing right now is almost completely avoidable,” he said.
Walensky’s statements are in line with an Associated Press analysis that found that “almost all” people who have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. in May were not vaccinated.
About 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths that month occurred in fully vaccinated people. “That translates to about 0.8%, or five deaths per day on average,” the AP reported.
The news service also said fully vaccinated people totaled fewer than 1,200, or about 1.1%, of more than 107,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations during that month.
In one of the tweets posted on July 18-19 that led to the temporary suspension, the congresswoman erroneously stated that SARS-CoV-2 “is not dangerous to people who are not obese or to those under the age of 65” and attempted to mislead her readers by adding that there have been “6,000 vaccine-related deaths.”
As of July 19, there were about 607,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC. While obesity is a risk factor for hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19, people with a healthy weight have also died. And more than 123,000 of the deaths, as of July 14, occurred in people under the age of 65.
In addition, as we have written above, thousands of deaths were reported to the VAERS vaccine surveillance system after vaccinations, but that does not mean that the vaccine was the cause.
Editor’s note: SciCheck’s Vaccination/COVID-19 Project is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The foundation has no control over our editorial decisions, and the views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the foundation’s point of view. The goal of the project is to increase access to accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines, and reduce the impact of misinformation.
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