A video shared on Facebook claims that the recent declaration of a global monkeypox outbreak is a cover-up for the effects of the Covid-19 vaccine. There is no evidence this is true.
The video claims: “Monkeypox has been around for a long time, it’s never been a problem before, but all of a sudden it is, and it just coincides with billions and billions of people getting one, two, three, four, maybe five lots of jabs in the space of 18 months.”
It continues: “In my opinion this has been announced now, and it’s to cover up the effects of the jabs. The more jabs you have had, the more your immune system is weakened”.
It is true that this is the first time monkeypox has spread widely outside of central and west Africa among people with no travel history to the region. However, there is no evidence that the outbreak is caused by anything other than the monkeypox virus, and it is not true that the Covid-19 vaccine weakens the immune systems of its recipients.
Be first in line for the facts – get our free weekly email
Monkeypox outbreak is not a cover-up
In the video, it’s claimed that monkeypox is being used to disguise the fact that the Covid-19 vaccines are weakening immune systems. There is no evidence this is true.
It states: “They are announcing this now as it’s going to be a cover for the effects of the people who are jabbed up and now have weakened immune systems, they may now gradually be getting weaker over time. The talk about it being among gay men is, I believe, to distract you from that.”
We have written about a number of false claims that monkeypox is linked to the Covid-19 vaccines.
The monkeypox virus is the cause of the disease. There is no evidence of a link between monkeypox and the Covid-19 vaccines.
In June, the Medicines and Health Regulatory Agency (MHRA) confirmed to Full Fact “there is no evidence to date of a causal relationship between COVID-19 vaccination and monkeypox.” The MHRA has since confirmed to us that this is still the case as of the time of writing.
The video also claims that monkeypox has “been around for a long time” but has “never been a problem before”. Monkeypox was first identified in humans in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s, and is considered endemic in several countries in west and central Africa. While cases have been recorded outside of this region in the past, this outbreak is the first where monkeypox cases and clusters have been reported concurrently in non-endemic and endemic countries spread far apart around the world.
Public health officials have been working to understand the current outbreak, with a recently published multicountry study finding that, of 528 confirmed monkeypox cases reviewed, 98% were in gay or bisexual men, and 95% were likely transmitted through sexual contact.
Between 6 May and 25 July 2022, 2,367 confirmed and 65 highly probable monkeypox cases have been recorded in the UK.
The Department of Health and Social Care has previously told Full Fact that monkeypox cases are confirmed via laboratory testing, by PCR testing a swab of the rash, meaning it is highly unlikely that people are being wrongly diagnosed with the disease.
No evidence vaccine weakens immune systems
The video also shows a Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage which it claims states that monkeypox symptoms are similar to those of HIV, a virus which damages the immune system, and uses this to suggest that monkeypox is covering up widespread immunodeficiency caused by the vaccines.
This appears to be a misreading of the document in question, which does not state that monkeypox symptoms are similar to HIV symptoms, but instead says that monkeypox symptoms “are similar in people with or without HIV”, but that the virus may cause more severe illness in immunocompromised patients.
As we’ve previously explained, there’s no evidence that the Covid-19 vaccines weaken your immune system, and no evidence that any such weakening of the immune system worsens with each jab, as the video suggests.
The video also refers to comments made by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in January 2022, in which they warned that getting too many booster doses “could weaken your immune response”.
The video uses this as evidence that booster shots are weakening immune systems. However, this is an inaccurate interpretation of the EMA’s comments, which referred to the ability to mount an immune response to Covid-19 specifically, not the effectiveness of the immune system in general.
It is true that studies have suggested the Covid-19 vaccines lose some effectiveness over time, and that they also appear to be less effective at preventing symptomatic disease against the Omicron variant, which is currently dominant in the UK.
However, there is no evidence that receiving the Covid-19 vaccine reduces your protection against Covid-19, or the performance of your immune system against other diseases.
Image courtesy of CDC