The false information arrives on social media and fringe news sites, influencing people already facing other hurdles to getting vaccinated. Some activists are going door to door to counter it.
At a mass vaccination site at the Oakland Coliseum on a recent Friday afternoon, before 68-year-old Anthony Jones agreed to get his shot last month, there was just one last thing he wanted to look up on Facebook. He pulled out his phone and started to tap, waving off his grandson, who had driven him to his appointment.
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I read something about a woman who died from this thing, and I want to know if she was Black, said Mr. Jones, who after several minutes of scrolling could not find the Facebook post he was looking for. You see a lot of stuff on the internet which makes you think, as a Black man, you should not be taking this vaccine.
Mr. Jones eventually gave up. As he was walking in for his shot he remembered the article he had seen was on WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, and from a website he didnt recognize.
My grandson tells me not to believe everything I read on the internet, he said. I like to believe my grandson.
The next day, Daniel Lander, 38, was canvassing a neighborhood in San Jose with Armando Mateos, 28. For the last five months, Mr. Lander has been going door to door in a program managed by Working Partnerships USA, a community organization based in Silicon Valley. The group is working with local county officials to help dispel misinformation about the pandemic and vaccines.
We hear people say that they saw this or that celebrity sharing something on Twitter or Instagram that made them think the vaccine was a bad idea. People value the opinion of people they look up to, and these celebrities have a lot of influence, Mr. Lander said.