FACT CHECK: Did A Member Of The FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Committee Say Unvaccinated People Are More Educated About COVID-19 Vaccines Than Vaccinated People?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Instagram claims a member of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccine advisory committee said unvaccinated people are more educated about COVID-19 vaccines than those who are vaccinated.


Verdict: False

The man seemingly referenced in the image is not a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory panel. His remarks, which have been misrepresented, came during the open public hearing session of the committee’s meeting.

Fact Check: 

The FDA on Sept. 22 granted emergency use authorization to booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for certain populations, including people ages 65 and older and those at risk for severe illness. That authorization came after the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended authorizing booster shots for older individuals and those at high risk in a Sept. 17 virtual meeting, an FDA press release noted.

Now, an Instagram post claims, “FDA vaccine advisory board said Friday unvaccinated are more educated on the vaccine than most who have gotten it, and ‘we cannot adequately refute their concerns, which should make us all very uncomfortable.'”

The post misidentifies the person as a member of the advisory committee. It also does not accurately reflect the comments the person made during the public hearing portion of the meeting. (RELATED: Did A Member Of The FDA Vaccine Advisory Panel Say, ‘We Are Killing More People Than We Are Saving With The Shots’?)

The man being referenced in the Instagram post is Dr. Joseph Fraiman, who identified himself as an emergency medicine physician who practices in Louisiana. The FDA’s roster for the committee does not list anyone by that name as a member. At no point when Fraiman spoke did he describe himself as an FDA employee or a member of the Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

As evidenced in the livestream of the Sept. 17 meeting, he spoke during the open public hearing portion of it. An FDA spokesperson previously told Check Your Fact: “The open public hearing portion of the meeting is open to anyone who is interested and signed up per the meeting announcement. FDA does not screen remarks from speakers during the open public hearing portion of the meeting in advance.”

During Fraiman’s remarks, he said, “I know that many think the vaccine-hesitants are dumb or just misinformed. That’s not at all what I’ve seen. In fact, typically, independent of education level, the vaccine-hesitant I’ve met in the ER are more familiar with vaccine studies and more aware of their own COVID risk than the vaccinated.”

He called for “larger trials that demonstrate the vaccines reduce hospitalization without finding evidence of serious harm,” according to the livestream of the meeting.

“We need your help on the frontlines to stop vaccine hesitancy,” Fraiman said. “Demand the booster trials are large enough to find a reduction in hospitalization. Without this data, we the medical establishment, cannot confidently call out anti-COVID vaccine activists who publicly claim the vaccines harm more than they say, especially in the young and healthy. The fact that we do not have the clinical evidence to say these activists are wrong should terrify us all.”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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