A US federal agency did not say that Covid-19 was a planned ‘scamdemic’

14 June 2022
What was claimed

The US National Institutes of Health’s own website states that Covid-19 was a planned and orchestrated scam-demic.

Our verdict

No it doesn’t. This was written in an opinion piece that can be found by searching PubMed, a database maintained by the NIH. It was not published by, or funded by the NIH.

A Facebook post about the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), a federal agency which conducts medical research, claims: “NIH'S own website states that Covid 19 was a planned and orchestrated Scam-demic.”

The post directs readers to a comment that includes a video from TikTok, which explains how to search the NIH site in order to find an article in a journal called Surgical Neurology International (SNI).

Among other things, the article claims: “The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most manipulated infectious disease events in history, characterized by official lies in an unending stream lead [sic] by government bureaucracies, medical associations, medical boards, the media, and international agencies.”

The article can be found by searching the NIH site because, like all SNI articles, it has been indexed by PubMed, a database of biomedical research that is maintained by US government agencies within the NIH. This does not mean that the NIH itself has published it, or endorses it.

The SNI article itself includes a link to a disclaimer, when accessed through PubMed. It says: “[The National Library of Medicine] is not a publisher, but rather collects, indexes, and archives scientific literature published by other organizations. The presence of any article, book, or document in these databases does not imply an endorsement of, or concurrence with, the contents by NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or the U.S. Federal Government.”

Full Fact also contacted the NIH, which confirmed this, and told us that the article was not NIH-funded.

The author of the SNI article is a retired neurosurgeon called Dr Russell Blaylock, who is a member of SNI’s editorial board. Dr Blaylock has previously written in support of the debunked and false theory of a link between childhood vaccination and autism, and has  expressed support for the chemtrails conspiracy theory.

The journal says that it normally peer-reviews all its articles, but we don’t know whether this article has been through that process.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a real public health crisis around the world. It has attracted many false claims, which we have written about many times.

Image courtesy of VOA/Arsène Séverin

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the NIH website did not say Covid-19 was a ‘scam-demic’. The article in question was not funded by or published by the NIH, but just indexed on its catalogue of scientific papers.

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