Debunking Covid-19 Vaccine Conspiracy Theories

Debunking Covid-19 Vaccine Conspiracy Theories

As the year finally comes to an end, let’s have a recap of all the conspiracy theories around Covid-19 and its vaccine. From alleged plans to re-engineer our genetic code to finding a fetus in the vaccine against the SARS-COV-2 virus, we have read them all.

Crux of the Matter

#1: Microchip By Bill Gates

Claim:
The Covid-19 pandemic is a step forward for a bigger plot, to implant trackable microchips and that Microsoft’s Bill Gates is behind it.

Where did this come from?
Bill stated in an interview in March, that eventually “we will have some digital certificates” to know who tested, received a vaccine, recovered etc. Then a web article made references to a study, funded by The Gates Foundation, to further state how Microsoft could store someone’s vaccine records in a special ink administered at the same time as an injection.

Verdict

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told the BBC that these are false claims.
  • Even Ana Jaklenec, a scientist involved with the aforementioned study has said there is no evidence to support these claims.
  • Bill has been in general targeted due to his philanthropic work in public health.

#2: Fetus Tissue In Vaccines

Claim: Vaccines contain the lung tissue of an aborted fetus

Where did this come from?
A video on one of the biggest anti-vaccine Facebook pages online refers to a study as “evidence” of what goes into the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. 

Verdict

  • The Oxford vaccine developers say that they worked with cloned cells, but these cells “are not themselves the cells of aborted babies”.
  • Dr. David Matthews, from Bristol University, said that any traces of the cells are comprehensively removed from the vaccine “to exceptionally high standards”
  • So the narrator’s interpretation is incorrect as that study just explored how the vaccine reacted when introduced to human cells in a lab.

#3: Vaccine Alters Your DNA

Claim: Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will change the recipient’s DNA for worse.

Where did this come from?
Social media videos and posts are spreading this theory since May. They have noted that messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology “has never been tested or approved before”.

Verdict

  • Both the vaccines in question are made of mRNA, not DNA.  
  • This messenger RNA in the vaccine acts like an ‘instruction manual’ for our cells, telling them how to guard against the SARS-COV-2 virus. But this component never enters the DNA’s location i.e the nucleus of our cells.
  • As for safety checks, there are 3 Phases of clinical trials for any vaccine. In Phase 1 and 2, shots are tested for small numbers of volunteers to determine their right dose. In Phase 3 trials, they are tested in a larger population, to see their effectiveness.

#4: Low Recovery Rate From A Vaccine

Claim: Chances of dying from Covid-19 are slim, so we don’t need a vaccine.

Where did this come from?
A meme shared by anti-vaccine propagators put the recovery rate from Covid-19 at 99.97%. So it suggested getting the virus as a safer option, than getting vaccinated.

Verdict

  • Firstly, the recovery rate is not 99.97% i.e 3 in 10,000 people who catch COVID will survive it. 
  • As per senior statistician at Oxford, Jason Oke says only  99.0% of people who catch Covid survive it i.e 100 in 10,000 will die.
  • He added that “in all cases, the risks very much depend on age and do not take into account short and long-term morbidity from Covid-19”.
  • Breaking down taking of a vaccine to an individual act misses the point of vaccinations, says Prof Liam Smeeth from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Curiopedia
  • The term “conspiracy theory” is itself the subject of a conspiracy theory, which claims the term was popularized by the CIA in order to discredit conspiratorial believers, particularly critics of the Warren Commission(Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy), by making them a target of ridicule.
  • The Eye of Providence is a symbol that depicts an eye, often enclosed in a triangle and surrounded by rays of light or Glory, meant to represent divine providence, whereby the eye of God watches over humanity. A well-known example of the Eye of Providence appears on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, which is depicted on the United States one-dollar bill. The symbol has been taken by some to be evidence of a conspiracy involving the founders of the United States and the Illuminati.
  • HIV/AIDS denialism is the refusal to acknowledge that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), despite the conclusive evidence. The scientific consensus is that the evidence showing HIV to be the cause of AIDS is conclusive and that HIV/AIDS denialist claims are pseudoscience based on conspiracy theories, faulty reasoning, cherry-picking, and misrepresentation of mainly outdated scientific data.
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