Since its founding in 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted over 315,000 wishes for children with critical illnesses.
Amid lockdown orders and travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of those wishes had to be delayed. Now, as vaccine access continues to expand, the nonprofit announced a vaccination policy for resuming certain wishes that involve longer travel and more people.
The policy was misrepresented on social media.
“Make-A-Wish Foundation will only grant wishes to fully vaccinated children,” reads a screenshot of a headline that was shared in a June 26 Instagram post.
“The Make-A-Wish Foundations’ CEO Richard Davis in a recent video announced that wishes will only be granted to terminally ill children who have received the COVID-19 vaccine,” the subhead under the headline says.
This isn’t accurate. The policy says children and their families need to be fully vaccinated if the wish involves air travel or large gatherings. It does not apply to every child and every wish, and it also does not apply to any child who has received an end-of-life prognosis, the organization said.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The distortion appears to stem from the Davis video reference in the claim. Some interpreted Davis as saying that the foundation was refusing to grant wishes for unvaccinated children altogether.
“This is literally a new low for humanity. Terminally ill children will not be granted a wish.. from the make a wish foundation… unless.. you guessed it.. they’re fully vaccinated,” one Twitter post said.
In the video, Davis says the vaccination policy applies only to wishes involving air travel and large gatherings, which are set to resume in mid-September for the first time since a March 2020 pause.
The decision was made with the help of pediatricians and other medical professionals to protect the health of the children, whose conditions often make them more vulnerable to the virus.
The organization issued a statement on its website on June 28 saying, “Make-A-Wish has not, does not and will not deny wishes to children who are not vaccinated.”
The organization said it offers other options that do not involve flying or big crowds for families with children who aren’t yet eligible for the vaccines, or who are choosing not to get the shot. These include shopping sprees, staycations, wishes for pets, room redecorations and spending time with celebrities.
An Instagram post claims that the Make-A-Wish Foundation will grant wishes only to fully vaccinated children.
This is wrong. The nonprofit organization recently announced a policy that requires families and children to be fully vaccinated only for wishes that involve air travel and large gatherings.
The new policy is based on the guidance of medical experts to protect the health of the children, whose conditions often make them more vulnerable to viruses. It doesn’t apply to any child who has received an end-of-life prognosis.
We rate this False.
This article was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for these fact checks here and more of their fact checks here.