Claim: COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe and recipients will die soon
Source: Viral WhatsApp video
Researched by Gifty Tracy Aminu
A video showing a group of protestors marching in the streets against a new COVID-19 protocol in Italy that requires all workers to be vaccinated is being circulated on WhatsApp in Ghana to discourage people from getting the jab.
Some of the protesters can be seen holding the Italian flag, while others can be heard chanting “don’t take the vaccine.”
In the video, someone can be heard explaining the reason for the protest and cautioning Africans not to take the COVID-19 vaccines.
“All of them[protesters] came out because of these vaccines. Please, Africa, hear the word. They know that this thing is killing people. Please you should stop it. Don’t take it. It is a bad thing. These white people have realised their mistakes. The mistake is already done. Once you take the vaccine you cannot reverse it and all the people that have taken it after some years will be dying,” the speaker partly said.
The protest was organised against the introduction of a new policy by the Italian government making it compulsory for all workers to acquire the COVID-19 vaccination certificate or “Green Pass”.
“The city is Turin [Italy] and the people are marching against green pass … There have been 10 demonstrations against the green pass,” Facta, a fact-checking project dealing with hoaxes, fake news and disinformation in Italy told GhanaFact after assessing the video.
Regarding the claim that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said: “COVID-19 vaccines save lives and protect people from severe illness and death from the virus. The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines globally and in Africa, including through the COVAX facility, is designed to save lives, protect people and help bring an end to the pandemic.”
GhanaFact has debunked a similar claim that suggests that COVID-19 vaccines have been developed purposefully to kill Africans(here).
Another claim that has also been debunked by GhanaFact is that “all vaccinated people will die within 2 years.” The viral claim was falsely attributed to French virologist and joint recipient of the 2008 Noble Prize in Medicine, Luc Montagnier.
A former professor at the University College Dublin in Ireland, Dolores Cahill also falsely claimed that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines would reduce the life expectancy of people who take them. This was also debunked by GhanaFact.
All COVID-19 vaccines approved by WHO for emergency use listing have been through randomized clinical trials to test their quality, safety and efficacy. To be approved, vaccines are required to have a high efficacy rate of 50% or above. After approval, there is continued monitoring for ongoing safety and effectiveness.
What to know about the Italian Green Pass?
“From 15 October to 31 December 2021, the deadline for the end of the state of emergency, the COVID-19 green certification (or green pass) will be mandatory in public and private workplaces,” the Italian government has announced.
According to Italy’s Ministry of Health, this is part of urgent measures to ensure the safe performance of public and private work.
“We approved in the Council of Ministers is a very important piece of the COVID-19 containment strategy implemented in recent months. It is a strategy that essentially focuses on the vaccine as a fundamental key to opening a new season. With this decree, starting from October 15, we extend the use of the Green Pass throughout the world of public and private work,” the minister of health Roberto Speranza has said.
GhanaFact also noted that there have been a series of protests across Europe since the introduction of the COVID-19 travel certificate by the European Union.
European Union Digital COVID Certificate
On July 1, 2021, the European Union implemented the new COVID-19 travel rule which requires a digital COVID-19 Certificate from EU citizens and residents who would want to travel across countries in the union.
“The EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation entered into application on 01 July 2021. EU citizens and residents will now be able to have their Digital COVID Certificates issued and verified across the EU.”
According to the European Union, an EU Digital COVID Certificate is digital proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19.
Ghana’s enhanced COVID-19 protocols for travellers
Effective December 12, 2021, Ghana introduced new COVID-19 protocols requiring all travelling adults coming into the country to provide evidence of being fully vaccinated.
All Ghanaians travelling out of the country are also expected to be fully vaccinated according to the new measures.
Therefore, the claim that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe and recipients will die soon is FALSE.