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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke April 28, 2021

No, the CDC didn’t say refusing to take the vaccine is racist

If Your Time is short

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not create this.

An illustration of a person getting a shot in their arm has been spreading on social media. They’re wearing a face mask, and three large beads of sweat drip from their hairline.

"FACT: Refusing to take the vaccine is a form of racism since it harms people of color," the text reads. A logo for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appears in the left corner. The website address for a CDC page about COVID-19 appears in the right. 

"The newest CDC campaign," read one of many posts sharing the image. "See who’s all working together yet?"

(Screenshot from Facebook)
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

A reverse image search of the illustration in the Facebook post led us to tweets that shared the image but nothing connecting it to the CDC. 

However, we found a template for the image — no text, just the illustration, logo and link — that people can use to create their own memes. So we created one. It says: "I can type anything here."

Featured Fact-check

We re-created the False meme on using our own text. This isn't from the CDC either.
The CDC did use this imagery as part of a Twitter thread about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines to help stop the pandemic. But the text in the image says: "You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection."

The CDC did not respond to PolitiFact’s query about the post. A spokesperson for the agency told Check Your Fact that the image in the post was "not developed or posted by CDC."

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has spoken about the intersection of race and COVID-19. In an April 8 statement, she noted that the disease’s impact is "felt, most severely, in communities of color — communities that have experienced disproportionate case counts and deaths." But she didn’t mention the vaccine. 

And the image in the Facebook post is not from a real CDC campaign. 

We rate this claim post False.

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No, the CDC didn’t say refusing to take the vaccine is racist

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