Fact Check: CA Governor Gavin Newsom Says He Had No Side Effects From Moderna Booster Shot, Photos Show Him Mobile

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: CA Governor Gavin Newsom Says He Had No Side Effects From Moderna Booster Shot, Photos Show Him Mobile Gov Denies

Was Gov. Gavin Newsom injured and incapacitated by the Moderna booster shot? No, that's not true: California Gov. Newsom said at a live event on November 9, 2021, that he did receive the booster shot on October 27, 2021, but that he had no side effects and spent two weeks out of the public eye working in his office, spending time with his children and attending social events, which photos corroborate.

The claim appeared as a post (archived here) where it was published on Facebook on November 9, 2021. It opened:

JUST-IN: Inside Source Announced Governor Newsom Is Injured By Moderna Booster Shot!

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Gavin Gone.jpg

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Nov 10 02:06:52 2021 UTC)

The post links to an article published on The Defender, the Children's Health Defense website of anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., which made the false claim on November 8, 2021:

A source close to California Gov. Gavin Newsom today told The Defender the governor experienced an adverse reaction to the Moderna COVID vaccine he received Oct. 27.
The source, who asked not to be identified, said Newsom's symptoms were similar to those associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a known side effect of many vaccines.
GBS is a neurological disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks part of its peripheral nervous system -- the network of nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord -- and can range from a very mild case with brief weakness to paralysis to leaving the person unable to breathe independently.
The governor has not been seen in public since he was photographed Oct. 27 getting his COVID booster."

The Defender article included quotes from Robert F. Kennedy Jr.:

Commenting on the situation, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman of Children's Health Defense, today said he "prays for Newsom's family" and wishes him a quick recovery.
Kennedy added:
"However, if it's true the governor has suffered debilitating neurological injuries following vaccination, it raises grave ethical questions about his seemingly dishonest efforts to conceal his injuries while implementing aggressive policies to force the children and working people of California to endure similar risks."

On November 9, 2021, Newsom appeared at the 2021 California Economic Summit sponsored by California Forward where he spoke about getting the booster shot and did not say that he had an adverse reaction. At the 42:00 mark of video from the event, Newsom said:

It's the winter surge and that's why I cannot impress you more, get that booster shot. It's safe. It will save your life. It worked. I got mine on the 27th, literally the flu shot is what I'm still a little sore about. Literally not figuratively a little sore about."

Newsom's absence from the public eye for almost two weeks sparked speculation about his whereabouts. During his appearance at the summit he explained (at 11:25 in the video) that he canceled a scheduled trip to the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow because his children said they were disappointed he and his wife were going to miss Halloween and trick-or-treating.

On November 6, 2021, Newsom was photographed at Getty oil heiress Ivy Love Getty's private wedding ceremony. Vogue magazine reported details about his attendance.

At 12:48 Newsom describes his time out of the public eye, saying he worked in his office and visited state Senate President Pro Tem Toni G. Atkins' office with his children during a family visit to the Capitol.

The Office of the Senate President Pro Tem confirmed his visit to Lead Stories via email on November 9, 2021:

We can confirm that Governor Newsom and his children did stop by our office and got a coloring book and crayons.

Lead Stories reached out to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to seek confirmation of his sources and will update the story when a response is received.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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