COVID-19 Herpes Rumors Create Twitter Outrage

Media outlets perpetuate rumors that Covid-19 causes the Herpes STD through their headlines, prompting outrage on Twitter.
By Caleb Hurley

Herpes has been trending on Twitter after the media outlet The New York Post and others publish articles linking the COVID-19 vaccines to the STD through their headlines.

The Post’s headline states, “Herpes infection possibly linked to COVID-19 vaccine, study says.” However, the actual article is focused on how certain people who received the vaccine have developed shingles, a disease commonly associated with the virus varicella-zoster aka Herpes zoster known for causing chickenpox, not the Herpes STD according to the Mayo Clinic website.

The article further elaborates that the study was a small sample in Jerusalem and that, out of the 491 patients tested, the six people who were infected by shingles already had chickenpox at earlier points in their lives, complicating the idea that the vaccine directly brought out the disease within the recipients.

Much of Twitter responded negatively to these headlines at the best believing this to be an unethical way of baiting readers to the articles put out by the participating outlets, or at the worst another way for right wing media groups to discredit the vaccines in another bizarre attempt to preserve political power.

Many of the posters also believe that articles with misleading headlines like this, may create more excuses for people not to receive the vaccine or even allow for another push by Anti-Vax groups to convince others not to get vaccinated.

Their fears may be warranted. Issues with the J and J vaccine have renewed skepticism about the vaccination process in general allowing for the Anti-Vax movement to fill in the cracks. Anti-Vaxers have perpetuated a variety of misinformation campaigns regarding the Covid-19 vaccines, including a rumor that the vaccines will affect the fertility of its recipients.

The story raises newer questions about the role of journalists during difficult times like these. It is important for journalists to realize that they have power over the public and the public trusts journalists to make decisions for the betterment of the public. However, the public is not shy about responding back to journalists when they abuse that trust.