On September 8th, the Facebook user Gia Kacharava published a post, claiming that 27 American pilots had refused to take the vaccine and decided to leave the U.S. Air Force. As of September 10th, the post has accumulated 266 shares.
The post is without evidence. No such information has been reported by any credible media. Initially, similar information was disseminated by an American website, which usually publishes satirical content. The post also contains photo manipulation since the visual used in the post depicts pilots returning from Iraq in 2003.
No credible media has reported the information that 23 U.S. Air Force pilots have resigned due to vaccination. Similar information was first published on an American webpage, “Real Raw News,” on September 1st.
The ‘about us’ section of the webpage indicates that the published articles have educational and fun nature and warns the readers that the website includes humourous, parodic and satirical content. The section indicates that this warning is posted on the advice of a lawyer. The website has published several fabricated stories about coronavirus vaccines and other topics, including the arrest of Bill Gates, the trial of Hillary Clinton, the son of Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and Andrew Cuomo, the former governor of New York.
Information about 27 American pilots leaving the U.S. Army was later spread on social media as well. The information was verified by a fact-checking organization, Lead Stories, and concluded that the story had no evidence.
As for the image included in the post of Gia Kacharava, it depicts American pilots participating in the 2003 U.S. ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ that were transported from USS Kitty Hawk to Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan. The image is being disseminated manipulatively, as it creates the impression that the air force pilots depicted in it have refused to get vaccinated.
Last month, the Pentagon announced that vaccination would be mandatory for the U.S. military. However, no information has been released about the pilots leaving the U.S. Air Force en masse after the decision.
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