COVID-19 Fact Checks

FALSE: COVID-19 vaccines are not proven safe, effective

FALSE: COVID-19 vaccines are not proven safe, effective
A number of experts and health organizations have deemed the COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective
At a glance:
  • Claim: COVID-19 vaccines are not proven safe or effective.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: A number of experts and health organizations have deemed the COVID-19 vaccines being released as safe and effective, including the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the Philippine Department of Health.
  • Why we fact-checked this: A video of a doctor making this claim was sent to Rappler for verification through Facebook Messenger. The user who sent this claim said it is circulating on the messaging platform. 
Complete details:

In a video, a man who identifies himself as doctor Johan Denis from Belgium claims that COVID-19 vaccines are not proven safe or effective. 

This video was sent to the Newsbreak Facebook page for verification. The Facebook user who sent the video said it is circulating on Facebook Messenger. It came with the message: “Delikado gyod tong mga taong nagdali sa ilang decisions ug naunang nabakunahan!!!!  Pls tan-awa ninyo ning video ug ioasa dayon sa u relatives abd friends….”

(Those who rushed their decisions and got vaccinated first are truly in danger! Please look at the video and immediately pass to your relatives and friends.)

This claim is false. A number of experts and health organizations have deemed the COVID-19 vaccines being released as safe and effective, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the Philippine Department of Health (DOH). 

The WHO discussed the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in a series of explainers on vaccine development and distribution. The global public health body said all approved vaccines are carefully tested and continually monitored. 

According to the WHO, an external panel of experts convened to analyze the results from clinical trials and recommended whether and how the vaccines should be used. Moreover, officials from individual countries decide whether to approve the vaccines for national use. 

The US CDC said the vaccines are safe and effective, and recommended that people receive the vaccine as soon as they are eligible. 

In an article updated on April 16, Johns Hopkins said the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “have very good safety records.” They also mentioned the steps taken to ensure the vaccines are safe, including careful testing, authorization for emergency use, and continuous monitoring for problems and side effects. The article also explains how the vaccines were developed quickly. 

On its website, the DOH also states that the COVID-19 vaccines granted emergency use authorization by the Philippine FDA are considered safe and effective. Local health officials said there are risks of complications, but they emphasize that severe or life-threatening reactions are extremely rare.

The DOH also said: “The benefit of protection against severe COVID-19 is greater than the risk. Anyone who will get the vaccine will be properly evaluated and closely monitored by health professionals to further minimize any risk.”

According to The Brussels Times on January 27, Denis is a general practitioner in Antwerp, Belgium, whose license was suspended because he was giving patients mask exemption certificates even if they did not have respiratory problems. He also told the provincial medical commission that the pandemic is a conspiracy and that he had no intention of performing reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, which detect the presence of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 

In the video sent to Rappler, Denis also makes other claims that have been fact-checked before, including that the COVID-19 pandemic is fake, that COVID-19 is comparable to the flu, that the vaccines can alter DNA, and that the pandemic is somehow linked to 5G networks. – Vernise Tantuco/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time. 

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