Newspaper article spreads disinformation in Pakistan about Covid-19 vaccinations

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As Pakistan battles fourth wave of coronavirus, a screenshot of a newspaper article in Urdu warned of the “dangerous consequences” of Covid-19 vaccines. The article – which has been shared thousands of times on Facebook – makes a series of misleading claims about jabs.

The image of the unidentified newspaper was shared in a Facebook post in Urdu on August 4, 2021.

It has been shared over 11,000 times.

Screenshot of a misleading message taken on August 30, 2021

The same newspaper clipping was shared here and here on Facebook and here and here on Twitter.

The claims made in the article, however, are misleading.

Claim: “The periods of 4000 British women have stopped, their biological systems have been disrupted”

This statistic is misleading.

It was taken from a June 21 article published by MailOnline – the website of the British newspaper Daily Mail.

He reports that although nearly 4,000 women have reported period problems after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine, health officials have found no causal link.

Screenshot of a Daily Mail article on suspected links between the Covid-19 vaccination and menstrual problems, taken on August 30, 2021

“The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it had received 2,734 reports related to the AstraZeneca jab up to May 17. 1,158 others reported menstrual changes after receiving Pfizer and 66 others were related to the recently deployed Moderna jab, ”he said.

“But the regulator said a review of the matter concluded that symptoms did not occur more frequently in newly vaccinated women than in the general population.”

The MHRA said on Aug. 11, 2021 that he was reviewing reports of menstrual problems after the Covid-19 vaccination but that “the rigorous assessment carried out to date does not link changes in menstrual periods to the changes in menstrual periods. associated symptoms and COVID-19 vaccines “.

Claim: “More than 1,000 Indian citizens have died from the Covid vaccine, 30,000 have serious side effects”

The misleading post attributes this information to the Indian newspaper The Hindustan Times.

A keyword search of the newspaper’s website did not find any articles with the alleged statistics.

The newspaper also denied publishing such a claim.

“We haven’t published any such report for the simple reason that these figures are horribly wrong – and alarmist,” Sukumar Ranganathan, editor of the newspaper, told AFP.

A health worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine in Hyderabad on June 25, 2021 (AFP / NOAH SEELAM)

As of May 17, 2021, India’s Ministry of Health said more than 23,000 adverse events had been reported, including 700 serious cases.

“[The] The reporting rate for these events in India is around 0.61 / million doses, ”he said.

On June 16, 2021, he said 488 post-vaccine deaths had been reported, but only one death had so far been linked to the vaccine.

Claim: “Cardiac inflammation, cardiac enlargement, membrane pain (pericarditis) in young people; other diseases worry people ‘

This claim – which has been attributed to the Center for Disease Control America – lacks context.

Guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that Covid-19 vaccines are “safe and effective.”

“These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety surveillance in US history,” its website says.

The CDC has reported cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart) in young people who have received the Covid-19 vaccine.

However, he specifies that such cases were rare and that no causal link with Covid-19 vaccines has been established.

The misleading claim then goes on: “Paralysis, heart attacks, thickening of the blood, blood clots, severe chills, respiratory systems badly affected, USA Today”.

The paralysis mentioned is most likely a reference to Bell’s palsy, a temporary facial palsy.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that it “does not consider [cases of Bell’s Palsy] be higher than the expected rate in the general population “and has not established a causal link with the jab.

U.S. officials recommended temporarily halting the rollout of the single-injection J&J vaccine in April, after 15 women developed severe blood clots and three died, out of 3.9 million people who received the vaccine.

However, the jab was picked up after “the available data showed that the known and potential benefits of the J & J / Janssen COVID-19 vaccine outweigh its known and potential risks.”

The AstraZeneca jab has also been linked to the rare disease, although such cases are “very rare”.

Statement: “330,000,000 Indians refused to be vaccinated”

This statement misinterprets the results of a survey of vaccine reluctance.

The survey of more than 8,000 people across India did not say that 330 million Indians refused the shot.

He actually found that 29% of those polled said they would be ready to take the vaccine soon and 24% would take it once more data or vaccines became available.

The report was published by Local circles, an India-based community social media platform.

A medical worker prepares to administer a vaccine against Covid-19 in New Delhi on February 22, 2021 (AFP / SAJJAD HUSSAIN)

In the misleading messages, the survey results were applied to the unvaccinated population estimated at 700 million people.

Claim: “300 doctors received the crown despite their vaccination, Indonesia”

The claim that 300 doctors in Indonesia were infected with Covid-19 despite being vaccinated against the disease is accurate.

On June 17, 2021, the Reuters news agency reported that more than 350 doctors and medical workers had contracted Covid-19 despite being vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine.

Health officials said it was expected that a small percentage of those vaccinated would still contract the disease.

AFP Fact Check has already debunked a string of inaccurate vaccine claims.

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