FACT CHECK: Did The Military Times Publish This Headline About COVID-19 Vaccines?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A viral Instagram post allegedly shows a syndicated article published by Military Times that reports a Navy study found 60 percent of sailors who received two-dose COVID-19 vaccines had a higher risk of heart disease.

Verdict: False

There is no record of the Military Times publishing the headline on its website. The article appears to be fabricated.

Fact Check:

Screen grabs of the supposed article have been circulating widely following the Pentagon’s Aug. 9 announcement that it plans to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for military service members by mid-September. (RELATED: Did CNN Publish This Article About Joe Biden Sending Troops To Haiti?)

In the image, the alleged headline reads, “Naval medical study finds serious side effects to COVID-19 vaccines,” while other text claims, “A study conducted by the Naval Medical Center Coronado found that 60% of Sailors who had been vaccinated with 2-shot series vaccines are now at high risk for heart disease.” The article looks like a syndicated story from the Associated Press.

A keyword search on the Military Times website turned up no matches for the article in the Instagram post, nor does it appear among the stories listed on the author pages of the people in the purported article’s byline. Check Your Fact also didn’t find any article reporting about such a Navy study on the Associated Press website.

While the alleged article claims the study was conducted at the “Naval Medical Center Coronado,” there is no mention of it on the website of the Naval Medical Center San Diego and Naval Branch Health Clinic Coronado. The Naval Branch Health Clinic in Coronado provides “kind, compassionate medical care to all Active Duty Service Members assigned to the Naval Base Coronado/North Island Area of Responsibility and to all dependents, retirees, and federal employees,” according to the Naval Medical Center San Diego’s website.

The article in the Instagram post appears to have been fabricated. Another image of a supposed Military Times headline that makes a similar claim about Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine recipients is also fake. That headline – “New study shows an astronomical amount of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine recipients developed heart disease” – cannot be found on either the Military Times website or the Associated Press website.

Mike Gruss, the editor-in-chief of Sightline Media, the parent company of the Military Times, confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact that the outlet has “not run stories with the headlines or captions” in either fabricated image. He also noted, “Our publications have increasingly been the subject of disinformation and misinformation efforts, including about vaccination in the military.”

There have been some reports of adolescents and young adults experiencing heart inflammation after receiving mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, but such cases are rare, and most patients who received care recovered quickly after treatment and rest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, the CDC states on its website.

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a response from Sightline Media Editor-In-Chief Mike Gruss.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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