Critics of vaccination requirements are misrepresenting policy changes taken by a Ronald McDonald House Charities facility to protect the children and families they serve.
Both nonprofits have enforced COVID-19 vaccination guidelines in recent months, upsetting some families. Thousands of social media users are disobeying those actions, falsely suggesting that the Ronald McDonald House kicked unvaccinated families out of their facility and left them to fend for themselves.
The decision to transfer unvaccinated families to a separate facility is untrue, but it will continue to provide housing for them, just not close to children who are suffering from serious diseases and are therefore especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
According to Lisa Fazio, a psychology professor at Vanderbilt University, false claims are likely to grab attention and spread widely on social media.
Ronald McDonald House believes that their policies are necessary to protect the families they serve against the danger of getting the coronavirus, which might adversely affect children's health.
Here are the facts.
CLAIM: A Ronald McDonald House Charities facility in Vancouver, Canada, is evicting unvaccinated children and families.
THE FACTS: As it implements a policy this month requiring vaccinations for residents, workers, and visitors, the facility provides housing for families with sick children.
Ronald McDonald House BC & Yukon, a unvaccinated resident at the facility, posted a photo on his Facebook page on January 11 deriding his family's alleged impending eviction.
The man who uses Austin Furgason on Facebook holds up a piece of paper to the camera and says, Anyone older than 5 years old who is not vaccinated is getting evicted from Ronald McDonald House. Furgason, who says he has a 4-year-old son with leukemia, goes on to say, Because we dont have the vaccination, youre going to throw us out in the snow.
Furgason wrote in a Facebook post sharing the video that he screamed how absolutely wicked and vile.
Furgason's video was widely shared, but the company was denied access, and a #BoycottMcdonalds hashtag was distributed on social media. The claim also spread to blogs, where one headline read, Ronald McDonald House to evict families with young children who are unvaccinated.
According to Shannon Kidd, a spokesperson for the Ronald McDonald House, many of the posts omitted the idea that unvaccinated residents may find alternative housing.
No family will ever be evicted from our House, Kidd wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
All residents aged 5 to 18 years old will need to get at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by January 31. Requests for exemption will be reviewed and approved case by case, while exemptions will be automatically approved for children whose physicians do not advise vaccination due to treatment.
Include hotel rooms and facilities similar to the Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver.
When asked if the Ronald McDonald House would pay for the hotel room costs, Kidd wrote that the facility would do the best alternative accommodation for those families on a case by case basis and ensure that they would not endure financial hardship as a result.
Kidd added that Furgason's family will be moving to another facility in the coming days. She also noted that the family had no idea what to do before Furgason posting his video.
Furgason hat not responded to the AP's request for comment.