WaPost gives Ron Johnson four 'Pinocchios' for 'peddling' vaccine misinformation

The Washington Post fact-checker has given Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonA pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Sen. Ron Johnson hoping for Democratic 'gridlock' on reconciliation package Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' MORE (R-Wis.) four “Pinocchios” for “peddling” vaccine misinformation during a Fox News appearance. 

The outlet fact-checked two claims the senator made Wednesday when he appeared on Fox News's “Hannity."

“The fact of the matter is it looks like natural immunity is as strong, if not stronger, than vaccinated immunity. ... There is a risk to the vaccine. Again, it’s very small, but there are some pretty serious side effects, including death. We are already over 5,200 deaths reported on the VAERS system. That’s a CDC, FDA’s early warning system,” Johnson said.

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The Post pointed to multiple studies that have shown natural immunity can fade over time. The studies also showed mRNA vaccines can produce higher antibody titers and protect better from the new, more contagious variants than natural immunity.

Recent studies also show that the mRNA vaccines could better protect against new coronavirus variants than natural immunity, according to a blog post June 22 by Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health,” the Post reported.

The Post also blasted the senator for his claim the coronavirus vaccine can lead to death and for citing the information from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

“The VAERS database does not say coronavirus shots caused the reported deaths. Anyone can submit a report to VAERS; they are not verified,” the outlet said. 

The Post said Johnson has been “peddling misinformation for months” despite fact-checks and rebukes from other officials.

Johnson’s office rebuked the outlet’s fact check and says it does not accurately describe what the senator said.

“What did the senator say that wasn’t true? When did it become wrong to ask questions and seek information? The Washington Post 'fact check' mischaracterizes what the senator said and is another example of yellow journalism created to be used by other leftwing journalists in future political attacks,” Alexa Henning, Johnson’s spokesperson, told The Hill.

-Updated 12:35 p.m.