Videos being shared on social media are alleging that the Pfizer mRNA vaccine is 99.9% graphene oxide, which is created by oxidising graphite, and is intended to kill those who receive the vaccine. These videos often claim that this is supported by a study (which has not been peer-reviewed) and confirmed by a university in Spain (which it has not). Graphene oxide is not an ingredient in the Pfizer vaccine. This allegation has been debunked by the AP.
Misleading claims on social media state that receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 causes an increased likelihood of suffering a stroke. The claims rely on media reports, but not scientific evidence. While the British Heart Foundation and other groups have confirmed links between strokes and the AstraZeneca vaccine, the number of reports is minuscule and there is no evidence of causation. In Ireland, precautions are followed to reduce potential the adverse effects of vaccinations. In reality, strokes are more likely to occur among those who have contracted COVID-19 than those who have been vaccinated. This has misleading statement has been debunked by The Journal.
Posts on social media are claiming that vaccinated people are falling ill and dying due being vaccinated, in line with persistent anti-vaccine narratives. There is no evidence to show that those who have been vaccinated are dying at a higher rate than normal; however, there is voluminous evidence that COVID-19 has sickened and killed millions. Reuters has debunked this claim.
Leaflets distributed by an anti-government group in Ireland are making claims about the dangers of wearing face coverings as advised by public health officials. They include false statements that masks deprive the wearer of oxygen and have been proven ineffective against COVID-19. All of these claims have been consistently debunked by scientists and health officials, and most recently in The Journal.
Social media users are misrepresenting a scientific paper that has not yet been peer reviewed in a meme to make claims that the urine of vaccinated people is polluting the environment and harming wildlife. The scientists involved have denounced the memes as being misrepresentative of their actual findings and contrary to the science of vaccines and viruses. This has been debunked by Reuters.
Users on social media are using a report from Public Health England to make false claims that vaccinated people are far likelier to die from COVID variants. These claims misrepresent the data in the report. In reality, vaccination greatly reduces the likelihood of hospitalisation. The AP has debunked these claims.
Claims that COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA technology (including the Pfizer and Moderna jabs) have never been tested on human beings circulates widely on social media alongside allegations that they have been considered too dangerous to use. In reality, mRNA vaccine testing began as early as 2015 to combat influenza, and were later adapted for use against COVID-19. Tens of thousands of people were tested before the vaccines were approved for the general populace. Politifacthas fact-checked this persistent rumour.
Rumours being spread on social media purport that some airlines are considering prohibiting vaccinated passengers from flying, allegedly due to increased risk of blood clotting. This false claim was repeated in Russian, Swiss, Spanish, and Australian sources. However, there is no evidence of any airlines considering this ban and there are no known links between Deep Vein Thrombosis (which can occur on long flights) and COVID-19 vaccines. Fullfacthas fact-checked this rumour.
Social media users are sharing a post made by an anonymous person claiming to be the partner of an employee of the Irish Prison Service who alleges that the Irish Defence Forces are being called in to force vaccinations on unwilling prisoners. The post ends ominously with ‘Next it will be our children.’ In reality, all vaccinations in the Irish Prison Service for inmate and staff alike are being conducted by the National Ambulance Service. Inmates, like the rest of the population, have the right to refuse vaccination. This rumour has been debunked by The Journal.
In the United Kingdom, scam emails are being sent by fraudsters claiming to be from the NHS offering ‘Coronavirus Digital Passports’, which the messages state will allow the recipient to travel freely with proof of vaccination. The email contains a link to a payment page. The UK does not have a ‘vaccine passport’ programme and the vaccination status is provided for free. The Metropolitan Police Service of Westminster are spreading awareness of this scam.
Check the Facts
There are many factchecking websites and organisations working hard to help you identify what is accurate and reliable and what is not.
FactCheck from The Journal.ie is Ireland’s only verified signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network Code of Principles, with commitments to non-partisanship, fairness, and transparency
FactCheckNI is Northern Ireland’s only verified signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network Code of Principles, with commitments to non-partisanship, fairness, and transparency.
The Poynter Institute also supports fact-checking in a number of ways, including the Politifact website, the Corona Virus Fact Alliance and the Corona Virus Facts Database.
The International Fact Checking Network is a unit of the Poynter Institute dedicated to bringing together fact-checkers worldwide by promoting best practices and exchanges in this field, underpinned by a code of principles.
The MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network (TFCN) publishes daily fact-checks for teenagers, by teenagers and is a verified signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network’s code of principles.
Full Fact is a team of independent fact checkers and campaigners who find, expose and counter the harm that misinformation does
Snopes is the oldest and largest fact-checking site online and labels stories as ‘True’, ‘Mostly, ‘True’, ‘Mixture’, ‘Mostly False’ or ‘False’.
iHealthFacts is a Galway-based team doing science-heavy factchecks on COVID-19
Interrogate the data for yourself.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides situation updates for Europe
The Health Protection and Surveillance Centre provides Ireland-specific updates on COVID-19
The COVID-19 Data Hub is the official hub for COVID-19 statistics in Ireland
COVID-NMA is an international research initiative supported by the WHO and Cochrane. It shows all current trials and studies around COVID-19.