Video in a car shares misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines

6 July 2021
What was claimed

Covid-19 has never been isolated in a laboratory. It has never been proven to exist.

Our verdict

Covid-19 is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This virus has been isolated in laboratories many times.

What was claimed

Up until 26 May 2021 there have been 888,196 adverse reactions to Covid-19 vaccines and 1,253 deaths where doctors have acknowledged that it is caused by the jab.

Our verdict

These are the numbers of potential adverse reactions and deaths that happened around the time of vaccination, as reported by clinicians and members of the public to the MHRA Yellow Card scheme. This does not necessarily mean the vaccine caused that reaction or event.

What was claimed

People taking the vaccines have an 85% chance of survival.

Our verdict

This is not true. The Covid-19 vaccines have a survival rate vastly higher than this.

What was claimed

The Covid-19 vaccines are a mass clinical trial and won’t get to phase 3 trials until 2023.

Our verdict

The three Covid-19 vaccines currently in use in the UK have been through many stages of clinical trial and had phase 3 trial data published in peer reviewed journals. The phase 3 trials include long-term follow-up and have completion dates set for 2022 and 2023.

What was claimed

The Covid-19 vaccines breach the Nuremberg Code.

Our verdict

Multiple medical ethicists have told us that this is an inappropriate and unsubstantiated claim.

A video shared online features a former health worker making a number of false claims about the Covid-19 pandemic, and vaccines. 

“Covid has never been isolated in a laboratory. It has never been proven to exist. The only place it exists is in your head.”

This is incorrect. 

Covid-19 is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

As we have written previously, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been isolated in laboratories around the world many times since it was discovered.  

Dr Stephen Griffin, a virologist and Associate Professor at Leeds Institute of Medical Research, previously told Full Fact: “SARS-CoV2 has been sampled millions of times over from infected people, including those originally found to be infected in China”.

 

“Up until 26th May 2021 since these vaccines have been rolled out there have been 888,196 adverse reactions. That’s something mild to fatal. In the UK...there have been 1,253 deaths...and they’re the deaths that are recorded where the hospitals or the doctors are actually acknowledging that this is the jab.”

We have written about the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Yellow Card scheme many times before

The UK’s Yellow Card scheme collects and monitors safety concerns involving any medicines and medical devices such as suspected or potential side effects. This relies on voluntary reporting from medics and members of the public and aims to provide an early warning that the safety of a medicine or a medical device may require further investigation. 

According to  MHRA data up to 26 May 2021, there were around a quarter of a million Yellow Card reports for the Covid-19 vaccines.  Of those, there were 885,980 suspected reactions (because one Yellow Card may report multiple symptoms). These range from sore arms and ‘flu like’ symptoms to some of the more significant suspected reactions.

It’s correct that 1,253 deaths had been reported.  But we don’t know that these reactions or deaths were caused by the vaccine, and they certainly aren’t all cases where hospitals or doctors have agreed that it was the vaccine’s fault.

As explained by the MHRA “It is very important to note that a Yellow Card report does not necessarily mean the vaccine caused that reaction or event. We ask for any suspicions to be reported, even if the reporter isn’t sure if it was caused by the vaccine. Reports to the scheme are known as suspected adverse reactions (ADRs).

“Many suspected ADRs reported on a Yellow Card do not have any relation to the vaccine or medicine and it is often coincidental that they both occurred around the same time.

The reports are continually reviewed to detect possible new side effects that may require regulatory action, and to differentiate these from things that would have happened regardless of the vaccine or medicine being administered, for instance due to underlying or undiagnosed illness.”

Specifically related to deaths reported to the Yellow Card scheme, the MHRA has said: “Vaccination and surveillance of large populations means that, by chance, some people will experience and report a new illness or events in the days and weeks after vaccination” and that thousands of deaths are expected to have occurred naturally within a few days of the millions of vaccine doses given so far, mostly in the elderly.

On 7 April 2021, the MHRA issued a statement advising on a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a very rare and specific type of blood clot seen in the context of low platelets. As a precaution, because of the balance of risks from Covid-19 for young people, in addition to an individualised assessment of those who are at an increased risk of blood clots, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that people under the age of 40 in the UK should be offered an alternative Covid-19 vaccine. 

As of 23 June 2021, there have been 298,081 Yellow Cards reported for the Covid-19 vaccines, including just over a million suspected reactions. This included 1,403 deaths.

 

“Do you want to know what your survival rate is for taking this jab? 85% chance of survival.”

It’s not quite clear what this claim means.

A Google search of 85% in relation to Covid-19 vaccines directs you towards the results of studies into the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines in people aged over 80.

One, for example, is a Public Health England report into the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines in people over the age of 80. The report says that PHE data shows that two doses of vaccine have an effectiveness against mortality of around 85%. This means that they reduce the risk of dying from Covid-19. It does not mean that people who receive the vaccine only have an 85% chance of survival. 

As a quick sense check, if the 85% chance of survival was true, it would mean that 15% of people who received a Covid-19 vaccine died afterwards as a result. Given that up to 6 July 2021, roughly 45 million first doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the UK, this would result in approximately seven million deaths—which clearly hasn’t happened.  

 

“It’s been approved by the government agency the MHRA but it hasn’t gone through the full European standard. In America it is not FDA approved. This is a trial, a mass clinical trial and it is in phase two trials at the moment. It doesn’t get to phase three trials until 2023.”

All three of the vaccines currently in use in the UK (Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna) have been authorised for use. A fourth, Janssen has been authorised, but is not yet in use. 

Across the UK, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has a temporary authorisation (sometimes known as a regulation 174 authorisation) issued by the MHRA

In Great Britain, the Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen vaccines have another type of authorisation, called a “conditional marketing authorisation” which has been issued by the MHRA. We have written more about the difference between these types of authorisation before. 

The European Medicines Agency has authorised the use of all four of these vaccines, under its own conditional marketing authorisation. It is under these authorisations that the AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen vaccines are made available in Northern Ireland. 

As we have written previously, the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines have all had analysis of safety and efficacy data from phase three trials (involving tens of thousands of participants) published in peer-reviewed articles in medical journals such as The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine. Long-term protection and safety data will continue to be collected over the next couple of years, and so the completion dates for the trials are in 2022 and 2023. 

The FDA has also authorised the use of the Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen vaccines.

 

“It’s actually in breach of the Nuremberg Code.”

It’s not clear whether it is being claimed that the vaccines themselves or the act of giving them is in breach of the ethical research principles that were developed in the wake of Nazi attrocities. 

Either way, as we’ve written before, medical ethics, healthcare law and social epidemiology experts have told us that the principles of the Nuremberg Code are not applicable to the current vaccine roll-out.

Correction 13 July 2021

This piece has been corrected as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has now been granted conditional marketing authorisation. In addition there have been changes made to reflect which regulatory bodies have issued authorisation for different parts of the UK.

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 SARS-CoV-2 has been isolated in labs, not all MHRA yellow cards are proven vaccine side effects, the survival rate of the Covid-19 vaccines is not 85% and the vaccines have published data from phase 3 trials.

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