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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

YouTube has taken down more than 30,000 videos that made misleading or false claims about COVID-19 vaccines over the last six months, YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez said, offering the company's first release of numbers for such content.

Why it matters: Multiple polls show that roughly 30% of Americans remain hesitant or suspicious of the vaccines, and many of those doubts have been stoked by online falsehoods and conspiracy theories.

What's happening: Videos spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines are continuing to appear online as more and more Americans get vaccinated.

  • Platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, have rolled out policies to reduce the spread and reach of such content, but it's an ongoing challenge.

Background: YouTube first started including vaccination misinformation in its COVID-19 medical misinformation policy in October 2020.

  • Since February 2020, YouTube has taken down more than 800,000 videos containing coronavirus misinformation. The videos are first flagged by either the company's AI systems or human reviewers, then receive another level of review.
  • Videos that violate the vaccine policy, according to YouTube's rules, are those that contradict expert consensus on the vaccines from health authorities or the World Health Organization.
  • Accounts that violate YouTube's rules are subject to a "strike" system, which can result in accounts being permanently banned.

Our thought bubble: Platforms are eager to share data about the volume of misinformation they catch, and that transparency is valuable. But the most valuable data would tell us the extent of misinformation that isn't caught.

Go deeper

Heat wave grips U.S. this week from coast to coast

Computer model projection from the GFS model showing an unusually hot airmass across the western and Central U.S. on Thursday, June 29, 2021. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread heat wave has begun across the contiguous U.S., with at least 30 million people likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100°F by the end of the week.

Why it matters: The hot weather, which comes courtesy of another heat dome building across the Southwest, Rockies and then sliding into the western Plains, will only aggravate drought conditions and worsen many of the western wildfires.

VA first federal agency to require COVID vaccines for employees

A medical doctor gives the thumbs-up sign to a COVID-19 patient who is no longer using a respirator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York City. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it would require its frontline health care workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus within the next two months, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The VA is the first federal agency to mandate that employees receive the vaccine. The decision comes as cases of the Delta variant in the U.S. have increased dramatically.

4 hours ago - Health

Biden: Americans with long-COVID symptoms may qualify for disability resources

President Biden speaking in Arlington, Virginia, on July 23. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Americans experiencing long-term symptoms of COVID-19 may qualify for disability resources from the federal government, President Biden announced Monday during an event to mark the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Driving the news: The departments of Justice and Health and Human Services released new guidance Monday that categorizes “long COVID" as a physical or mental impairment, entitling people with the illness to discrimination protections under the the ADA.