DNA change, microchips: False claims made about Covid-19 vaccines on social media
The world is working on a vaccine which can check the spread of Covid-19 that has killed lakhs across the globe. From Americas to Australia, there is hardly any major country left which is not affected by the coronavirus disease.
But since its outbreak, fake information on social media too has been flowing incessantly. The ‘infodemic’ has led to numerous false claims being made on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
In March, when India had just entered the first phase of the lockdown, fake bank account details were circulated for contributions to the government relief funds.
There are also a number of other such misinformation being circulated including about the Covid-19 treatment and on ways to avoid getting infected from the deadly coronavirus.
In fact, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) launched a fact-checking Twitter handle which keeps on debunking such news.
And since the time the Oxford University announced the results of its vaccine candidate, the focus of the rumour mill has been the human trials and vaccine safety.
One of the videos being widely viewed on Facebook falsely claims that people who will be administered Covid-19 vaccine will see their DNA change. The video has been made by US-based osteopath Carrie Madej.
Without giving any evidence, she also claims that these vaccines will link people up to an artificial intelligence interface.
According to the results presented by the Oxford University, their vaccine Astrazeneca will trigger immunity response against the Sars-CoV-2 virus by invoking the T-cells. Moreover, the researchers have said that the vaccine will undergo rigorous trials and a series of checks before it is recommended for widespread public use.
Then there was a claim that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said in an interview that he expects 7,00,000 people to develop negative side effects from a coronavirus vaccine. In fact, some of the posts falsely quoted Gates to say that 7,00,000 people will die after taking Covid-19 vaccines.
The interview happened in April, but the clips started circulating in July.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation confirmed in a statement that Gates’ reference was hypothetical. “Strong scientific evidence shows that vaccines are safe and they have a proven track record of preventing diseases,” the statement said. “Experts believe that a vaccine against Covid-19 will be critical to ending this pandemic once clinical trials show that they are safe and effective in a broad group of people.”
There was more controversy and false claims regarding the vaccine work being done by Gates. Some of the posts on the social media said that the tech billionaire is planning to implant microchips in people through Covid-19 vaccine. This theory was propounded by Russian Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov in May. In a column, Zyuganov attacked “capital globalism” and claimed that the mandatory vaccination plan is a “ploy by so-called globalists to implant chip in every human being so that their movements could be monitored”.
Gates said in an interview last week that he wants the truth to reach people and hoped the fake news “dies down”.
Gates and a foundation led by him and his wife Melinda are working to find a vaccine for Covid-19. In February, the foundation had announced that it is donating US $100 million to vaccine research and treatment efforts.
Another false claim made through memes is that the 50 million fatalities reported during the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 were caused by vaccines.
The US Centres Centers for Disease Control has called it “the most severe pandemic in recent history”, but stated that there was no vaccine at that time which caused such a large number of fatalities.