NY State’s Dept. of Health –> fact-checked!

With all the ‘fact-checking’ that has taken place in recent 4 years, I am VERY happy to report that the ICAN organization has opened a can of REAL, whoop-ass fact-checking in the past year, and this most recent one is a great example…the New York State Dept. of Health was forced to remove misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines from their social media campaign and signage! #winning #soooowinning Make a donation to ICANdecide.org to make sure this winning continues, because it is effecting real change.

ICAN achieved another victory in its ongoing campaign to ensure the government does not spread false information about vaccines.  New York State’s Department of Health prepared a social media campaign pushing the COVID-19 vaccines.  One of the ads falsely stated that the vaccines “went through the same rigorous approval process that all vaccines go through” and that “the vaccine is safe and effective. It was approved by the FDA, the CDC, and by NY’s independent vaccine panel.”  ICAN, through its attorneys, wrote to Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of New York State’s Department of Health, and to Governor Cuomo, demanding they remove the false graphics and messaging regarding COVID-19 vaccines.  They quickly complied and removed the relevant false messaging.

On January 26, 2021, ICAN’s attorneys sent a letter to NYS DOH and Governor Cuomo informing them that they were violating federal law.  As part of Governor Cuomo’s #VaccinateNY campaign, NYS’s COVID-19 website provides materials to encourage and “educate” people about the COVID-19 vaccines. The social media materials are meant to be shared by New Yorkers to help spread the word and included the following poster:

 Above this social media graphic, Cuomo and the NYS DOH provide the following “Sample Message” for individuals to use on social media: “The vaccine is safe and effective.  It was approved by the FDA, the CDC, and NY’s independent vaccine panel. Let’s #VaccinateNY!”

This social media messaging – intended to be shared and spread widely – made the false claim that the FDA “approved” a COVID-19 vaccine.  This is categorically false.  There is no COVID-19 vaccine that has been “approved” by the FDA.  The only two COVID-19 vaccines currently in use are authorized by the FDA pursuant to an emergency use authorization (“EUA”). 

In fact, the FDA authorization letters for both COVID-19 vaccines expressly provide that the vaccines are each “an investigational vaccine not licensed for any indication” and require that “[a]ll promotional material relating to the COVID-19 Vaccine clearly and conspicuously … state that this product has not been approved or licensed by the FDA.”

Moreover, one would imagine that the Commissioner of the NYS DOH and the Governor would know that the CDC does not “approve” vaccines and that it would be false for them to claim that the CDC approved any COVID-19 vaccine.  Even worse, the two COVID-19 vaccines are still undergoing clinical trials, hence they were also spreading misinformation when they claimed that these EUA authorized products “went through the same rigorous approval process that all vaccines go through.”

New York State and Governor Cuomo needed to be fact checked.  We are pleased to tell you that, after being notified that failure to remove the inaccurate graphic and its false messaging would result in a lawsuit, New York State took it down.  This is another victory that should serve to remind New York State, Governor Cuomo, and others that someone is watching.  ICAN’s message should be heard loud and clear: you may not spread “misinformation” about vaccines. 

Information obtained from ICANDecide.org

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