The claim: The World Economic Forum banned vaccinated pilots from flying conference attendees
A Jan. 15 article from the serial misinformation website News Punch says the World Economic Forum was placing restrictions on travel to and from its conference in Switzerland.
“WEF bans vaccinated pilots to fly their members in and out of Davos,” the article says.
The article goes on to claim that people vaccinated against COVID-19 are more likely to have sudden cardiac episodes and collapse.
The post was shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook in six days, according to CrowdTangle, a social media analytics tool.
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Our rating: False
The World Economic Forum said it did not place vaccine-related restrictions on pilots. The claim comes from a site USA TODAY has repeatedly flagged for spreading misinformation.
Vaccine status not a consideration
The World Economic Forum held its first in-person winter annual meeting since 2020 this month, bringing world economic leaders together in Davos, Switzerland.
A spokesperson for the World Economic Forum said the claim that pilots vaccinated against COVID-19 were not allowed to fly in and out of Davos is “incorrect.”
The News Punch article sources the claim to a secondhand account of comments by Josh Yoder, president of U.S. Freedom Flyers, a group against vaccine mandates.
Yoder, however, tweeted on Jan. 15 he never said that.
“Click bait journalism is a scourge,” he wrote. “I never said that the WEF/Davos has reached out looking for unvaccinated pilots.”
The claim and article are based on the notion that a pilot vaccinated against COVID-19 could experience a sudden cardiac issue or death and put passengers at risk. But there’s no proof the vaccine causes anything of the sort. USA TODAY has debunked the notion that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 are more likely to experience sudden cardiac issues, including a false claim that the FAA changed its health guidelines for pilots due to COVID-19 vaccine reactions.
Fact check: Post falsely links new FAA guidelines to COVID-19 vaccine
The World Economic Forum is a frequent target of misinformation. USA TODAY has debunked claims that the forum supports slaughtering pets to fight climate change, has created a new religion and has its own police force.
News Punch has been flagged multiple times by USA TODAY for sharing articles with no basis in fact, including some about the forum. Recent debunks include News Punch pieces claiming DuckDuckGo would purge independent media, that Bill Gates tweeted about adding vaccines to food and that a digital currency would replace cash in the U.S.
PolitiFact also debunked the claim about vaccinated pilots and the World Economic Forum.
Contributing: Sudiksha Kochi
Our fact-check sources:
- World Economic Forum, Jan. 19, Email exchange with USA TODAY
- Josh Yoder, Jan. 15, Tweet
- USA TODAY, Jan. 10, Fact check: False claim pilots started training for sudden death mid-flight in 2022
- USA TODAY, July 11, 2022, Fact check: False claim that sudden arrhythmic death syndrome is linked to vaccine
- PolitiFact, Jan. 18, Claims that World Economic Forum is hiring only unvaccinated pilots don’t fly
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