COVID-19 Fact Checks

FALSE: Vaccines do not protect vs COVID-19, kill people instead

Rappler
FALSE: Vaccines do not protect vs COVID-19, kill people instead
Individuals who experience adverse side effects due to the COVID-19 vaccine remain to be rare cases
At a glance
  • Claim: COVID-19 vaccines are an experiment, and instead of protecting people against the disease, the vaccines will kill those who receive it.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: Individuals who experience adverse side effects due to COVID-19 vaccines remain to be the rare cases, affecting only 1 in 100,000 for AstraZeneca and only 1 in 122,000 for Johnson & Johnson.
  • Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube channel that made this claim, “John Weak Vlog,” has over 2,400 subscribers and has repeatedly made false claims about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Complete details

A YouTube video titled, “Nagpaturok Ka Na Ba?” (Have you been injected already?) outlines the allegedly persistent dangers of COVID-19 vaccines.

It says: “Nakakalungkot po, mga kaibigan, subalit milyon-milyong tao pa rin po ang pumapayag na maging biktima ng eksperimentong ito. Naniniwala sila na mapoprotektahan sila ng bakuna na ito, subalit ito rin ang pumapatay sa kanila.” (It’s so sad, friends, but there are still millions of people who are allowing themselves to be victims of this experiment. They believe that the vaccine will protect them, but this is also what kills them.)

To prove this point, it claims that not a single vaccine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that it is under-reported that vaccines cause fatal side effects for the inoculated. These side effects supposedly include heart failure, heart attacks, blood clots, brain hemorrhage, and in some cases the Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), which is a rare autoimmune disease. The video also says that unvaccinated individuals ought to avoid becoming “victims” of vaccinations programs while they still can. 

These claims are false.

There is evidence-based science that proves that individuals who experience adverse side effects due to the COVID-19 vaccine remain to be rare cases, affecting only 1 in 100,000 for AstraZeneca and 1 in 122,000 for Johnson & Johnson. No report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that COVID-19 vaccines are either fatal or dangerous.

The organizations do report on the existence of side effects, like thrombosis (blood clots) and GBS for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, as well as myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammations) for Pfizer and Moderna. They also repeatedly state that reports of adverse events following vaccination occur for only a low minority.

The WHO announced in a July 26 statement, “Though countries should always consider their individual pandemic circumstances and benefit-risk profiles, overall the subcommittee concludes that the potential benefits of both the Janssen and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines continue to outweigh any potential risk of GBS, particularly given the increase in the more transmissible Delta (B.1.617.2) variant.”

With regard to FDA approval, the Philippine FDA has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to eight brands of vaccines, while the US FDA has officially approved Pfizer-BioNTech as of August 23, 2021. Each of these vaccines have undergone WHO’s requirement to pass the three-phase trial process of clinical development prior to receiving their validation, with Sinovac receiving the lowest yet still viable efficacy rate (51%), and with Pfizer-BioNTech receiving the highest (95%). 

Mounting evidence suggests that the COVID-19 vaccines are indeed safe and effective, as validated by the Philippine Department of Health.

Moreover, the YouTube video talks about how vaccine passports, among other safety precautions practiced in favor of vaccinated individuals, are supposedly forms of coercion. 

Vaccine passports are not new and have existed before the COVID-19 pandemic. Some countries may require vaccination certificates for yellow fever, polio, and meningococcal meningitis vaccines before allowing entry. Requiring vaccines before entry helps countries control and reduce transmission rates within and across countries. 

Among other claims stated in the video is a list of the vaccine’s ingredients without the provision of further context, which include DNA-altering mRNA, cells of an aborted baby, the adenovirus, and ethanol and polyethylene glycol. Doctor Carrie Madej, who is referred to at the 4:22 mark of the video, has been previously fact-checked by BBC, Rappler, and Greek fact-checking organization Ellinika Hoaxes regarding her false claims on the vaccine’s alleged alteration of human DNA. 

The YouTube channel that made these claims, “John Weak Vlog,” has over 2,400 subscribers and has repeatedly made false claims about the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, the channel’s most viewed video on Youtube features the controversial Dr. Jose M. Oclarit, who has spread false information before and is vocal about his stance against vaccination. – Danna Gonsalves/Rappler.com

Danna Gonsalves is a Rappler intern. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.

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