The New York Times was forced to correct an article about COVID-19 vaccinations for children after it grossly overreported the number of kids who have been hospitalized with the virus.
In the Wednesday article “A New Vaccine Strategy for Children: Just One Dose, for Now,” one of the outlet’s science and global health reporters originally claimed that “nearly 900,000 children have been hospitalized with Covid-19 since the pandemic began, and about 520 have died.”
The article was amplified by dozens of blue checkmarks on Twitter and even promoted by the author.
Should children in the U.S. get just one dose of the coronavirus vaccine?
Concerned about reports of heart problems after the second dose in some rare cases, many countries have decided to go with just one dose — for now.https://t.co/N6N5Csk7wZ
— Apoorva Mandavilli (@apoorva_nyc) October 7, 2021
One day after publication, however, the Times changed the article text to claim that “63,000 children were hospitalized with Covid-19 from August 2020 to October 2021, and at least 520 have died.” That’s 837,000 fewer severely sick kids than the article first reported.
The corporate newsroom also added a correction notice at the bottom of the article notifying readers of at least three mistakes in the article.
“An earlier version of this article incorrectly described actions taken by regulators in Sweden and Denmark. They have halted use of the Moderna vaccine in children; they have not begun offering single doses,” the notice said.
The Times also clarified that “the article also misstated the number of Covid hospitalizations in U.S. children.”
“It is more than 63,000 from August 2020 to October 2021, not 900,000 since the beginning of the pandemic,” the Times wrote. “In addition, the article misstated the timing of an F.D.A. meeting on authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children. It is later this month, not next week.”
— Karol Markowicz (@karol) October 8, 2021
While data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that at least 63,000 COVID-19-positive children were hospitalized since August 2020, it is unclear where the article’s author found the original 900,000 number. The Times did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.
Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.