Claim: 6 claims about the coronavirus pandemic and mRNA vaccines
Source: WhatsApp Video
Verdict: 1 MISLEADING, 1 PARTLY TRUE AND 4 FALSE
Researched by Gifty Tracy Aminu
A video showing a former professor at the University College Dublin in Ireland, Dolores Cahill making several claims about the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 vaccine, is widely circulated on social media in Ghana.
The 2 minutes 10 seconds long video has been tagged by WhatsApp as “forwarded many times” and shows Prof Cahill questioning the importance of COVID-19 safety protocols, alleging that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines would reduce the life expectancy of people who take them and can further cause infertility.
“The whole chronology of where we are is based on lies; that coronavirus is lethal, that there was no prevention and treatment, that its an emergency that requires social distancing and masks- which it doesn’t, and that the solution was an mRNA vaccine which was safe and effective-which it isn’t and that it’s causing huge harm…Anyone who is over 70 that gets one of these mRNA vaccines will probably sadly die within about 2 to 3 years. And I would say, anyone who gets the mRNA injection, no matter what age you are, your life expectancy will be reduced to you know, die if you’re in your thirties within five to ten years and you probably will have allergy, neuro-cognitive issues and inflammation and of course infertility is the major one.” She partly said.
Coronavirus is not lethal.
COVID-19 can be deadly for some people. Older adults and people with existing health conditions are more at risk of serious complications, which can be life-threatening.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 80% of people who develop the disease have mild to moderate symptoms and fully recover without needing treatment in a hospital.
Roughly 1 in 5 people experience serious illness.
Older people may develop more severe symptoms, as many people with ongoing health conditions, such as:
Some severe COVID-19 symptoms include difficulty breathing and a feeling of pressure in the chest.
COVID-19 can also cause serious and sometimes fatal complications, including:
- arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat
- damage to organs
- multiple organ failure
- respiratory distress syndrome
- heart failure
Claim 1 is rated MISLEADING.
The coronavirus outbreak is not an emergency that requires social distancing and masks.
On 30 January 2020 following the recommendations of the Emergency Committee, the WHO Director-General declared that the coronavirus outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
Subsequently, on March 11, 2020, the coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.
Contrary to the claim by Dolores Cahill, the World Health Organisation(WHO) recommends that if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, stay safe by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue.
Claim 2 is rated FALSE.
The mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is not safe.
Some COVID-19 vaccines have been developed with an approach that uses messenger RNA (mRNA). The mRNA vaccine technology has been studied for over a decade, including in the development of vaccines for Zika, rabies and influenza.
These mRNA vaccines have been rigorously assessed for safety, and clinical trials have shown that they provide a long-lasting immune response. mRNA vaccines are not live virus vaccines and do not interfere with human DNA.
According to the WHO, the vaccines have been tested in large, randomized controlled trials that include people of a broad age range, both sexes, different ethnicities, and those with known medical conditions.
The vaccines have been found to be safe and effective in people with various underlying medical conditions that are associated with an increased risk of severe disease. These include high blood pressure; diabetes; asthma; pulmonary, liver or kidney disease; and chronic infections that are stable and controlled.
Claim 3 is rated FALSE.
The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines will reduce the life expectancy of people who take them.
“There is no evidence of this. COVID-19 vaccines, including mRNA vaccines, save lives and prevent serious illness from COVID-19. The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology has been rigorously assessed for safety, and clinical trials have shown that mRNA vaccines provide a long-lasting immune response”, the WHO Africa Infodemic Response secretariate said in response to the claim.
Scientists and public health experts at the Meedan Health Desk have also dismissed the claim: “Research shows that mRNA vaccines are safe and effective. Nonetheless, false and misleading online claims are sowing confusion about mRNA side effects. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have not caused any deaths in clinical trials, and there is no theoretical reason to believe that mRNA vaccines would cause deaths or severe harm to people.”
Claim 4 is rated FALSE.
COVID-19 vaccines can cause infertility.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has dismissed the claim as false.
According to WHO Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines, and Biologicals, Dr Katherine O’Brien, “The vaccines we give cannot cause infertility. This is a rumour that has gone around about many different vaccines and there is no truth to the rumour. There is no vaccine that causes infertility.”
The Vice President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Frank Serebour in responding to a similar claim debunked by GhanaFact said: “It is not true. The fact is that there is no correlation between the vaccine and fertility.”
Meanwhile, Scientists and public health experts at the Meedan Health Desk have also refuted the claim: “Similarly, there is no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines cause infertility or miscarriage. A key origin of this myth was a 2021 letter sent to the European Medicines Agency by two European anti-vaccination propagandists who falsely claimed that the “vaccine contains a spike protein called syncytin-1 [that is] vital for the human placenta in women.”
Syncytin-1 is a vital protein for the human placenta, and destroying this protein would disrupt its formation, which could lead to infertility or miscarriage. However, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not contain syncytin-1 or message the body to generate antibodies to it.
Claim 5 is rated FALSE.
People who take the mRNA vaccine “will have allergy, neuro-cognitive issues, and inflammation.”
Scientists and public health experts at the Meedan Health Desk have stated that “there is also no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines would lead to neuro-cognitive issues.”
When you immunize millions of people, some of them might later get diagnosed with diseases and conditions, including neuro-cognitive disorders. That doesn’t mean vaccines caused those diseases and conditions.
A neurocognitive issue or disorder is a general term that means a person is experiencing decreased mental function due to a medical disease other than a psychiatric illness.
In one of the first studies to look at the impact of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines on people with chronic inflammatory diseases, researchers found patients were able to produce a sufficient amount of antibodies with relatively minimal side effects.
“If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), psoriasis, or any other autoimmune condition that causes inflammation, you likely take medication designed to reduce your body’s over-reactive response. While that’s great as far as keeping your disease in check, it might lower your ability to fight infections, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19”, the study, which was published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, has revealed.
Meanwhile, some teenagers and young adults who received COVID-19 vaccines have experienced heart inflammation, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Committee on Immunization Practices revealed in a May 17 statement.
The CDC said the cases typically occurred within four days after receiving the mRNA vaccines but falls short in naming the specific vaccines.
Claim 6 is also rated PARTLY TRUE.