We came across this post on Facebook:
The author of the post shared what appears to be a graphic with a mask-wearing individual getting an injection. Next to the individual, we see a rather worrying text which states: “You may die, which is normal.” We also see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s logo at the bottom left of the graphic, and the URL cdc.gov/coronavirus. The link leads to the CDC’s webpage about COVID-19.
The author of the text then writes in the caption: “Don’t be afraid to take your booster shots. All side effects are normal.”
While the caption sounds almost well-meaning in encouraging people to get vaccinated, putting it into the context of what’s implied in the graphic reveals that it was written as a snide remark, possibly in response to how the authorities have been encouraging people to take their booster shots.
Where did this graphic even come from?
When we did a reverse image search, we were led to a Twitter thread by the CDC published on 7 April. In the thread, the CDC posted a series of graphics about viral vector vaccines. Viral vector vaccines include the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine, which is authorised for emergency use in the United States.
A few tweets down, we see the graphic of the mask-wearing individual getting an injection.
However, the text on it states something a little less extreme and a lot more in line with the advisories published for vaccines so far – “You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection.”
Interestingly enough, we also came across a fact check by PolitiFact which sees the same graphic’s text being edited, this time, to reflect that refusing to take the vaccine “is a form of racism since it harms people of color”.
Therefore, it is false that the CDC posted a graphic which says that it is “normal” that individuals may die from taking the COVID-19 vaccine.