WASHINGTON — The Verify team works to separate fact from fiction in a social media sea of misinformation. As COVID-19 cases rise around the country, drug manufacturers are racing the clock to find an effective vaccine and get it approved.
But there are still a lot of questions about when the vaccine will be available, who will get it, and if it can be mandated? Social media users are sharing news reports that claim Ticketmaster will require concert-goers to provide proof of vaccination to attend events. The Verify team is looking into whether or not this claim is true, and went straight to the source for an answer.
So let's verify, is Ticketmaster planning to require proof of vaccination for event-goers?
This viral claim created a lot of backlash on social media. Twitter users tagged Ticketmaster in angry tweets about privacy. Many asked when the company would be addressing refunds requested for shows that were canceled or postponed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Ticketmaster hasn't mentioned a vaccination protocol on its Instagram page, users of the platform started leaving comments on previous posts.
"How about respond to your customer???" user Tillieleigh67 said. "Been waiting since March to talk to someone about a refund!!!!"
And hallie.ingalls commented, "Yikes I can't wait for y'all to go out of business. Not issuing refunds and now infringing on customers MEDICAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY? Nice."
Ticketmaster released a statement in response to the social media outrage and denied setting such policies.
"We are exploring a number of safety features for event organizers to utilize as they look to welcome fans back to events," the statement says. "This includes social distancing, contactless entry, and more. Any screening requirements will be up to the individual event organizer and local health guidelines, and not Ticketmaster."
The statement goes on to say that no changes have been made and that all ticket holders will be notified of any future changes.
Our VERIFY researchers reached out to Ticketmaster's media relations department.
In an email response, a spokesperson told us the company does not have the power to create such policies. The company said it's exploring the option for event organizers to use a thrid-party healthcare system that would provide results if needed. The company said the use of such a system would ultimately be up to event organizers, and that all information would have to be legally stored with HIPPA compliance.
The company sent WUSA9 this statement from Ticketmaster President Mark Yovich:
"We imagine there will be many third-party health care providers handling vetting - whether that is getting a vaccine, taking a test, or other methods of review and approval - which could then be linked via a digital ticket so everyone entering the event is verified. Ticketmaster’s goal is to provide enough flexibility and options that venues and fans have multiple paths to return to events, and is working to create integrations to our API and leading digital ticketing technology as we will look to tap into the top solutions based on what’s green-lit by officials and desired by clients."
So, we can verify, no Ticketmaster is not planning to require proof of vaccination. The company said the idea is being considered, but the decision will be up to venues and organizers.
Have you seen a claim about vaccinations or COVID-19? If so, send it to the Verify team at email@example.com or use the form below.