Falsehood 1:The COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been studied and it is unsafe.

COVID-19 vaccines were developed and approved in a short period of time. None of the trial phases which determine the efficacy and the safety of the vaccines, however have been omitted. [1]

Generally, a vaccine has to undergo pre-clinical trials and three phases of clinical trials. At the pre-clinical phase, the vaccine is first tested on animals in order to evaluate its potential to invoke an immune response. In the first phase of the clinical trial, the vaccine is given to a small number of volunteers in order to evaluate its safety and better study the immune response it generates. In the second phase, the vaccine is given to several hundred volunteers in order to enable scientists to obtain further assessments. In the third phase, the vaccine is given to thousands of volunteers and the vaccine’s efficacy, safety and side effects are checked. If a vaccine fails to prevent a disease, has strong side effects or is hazardous for human health, the trials are suspended. A country or a group of countries have the respective authority to make the decision to approve a vaccine based on research evidence (which confirms the vaccine’s safety and efficacy). Further monitoring and collecting of information about side effects continue to take place after the vaccine is introduced. The approval of the vaccine means it successfully concluded all phases of trials and its safety and efficacy are confirmed by these trials.

According to the United Kingdom’s regulatory authority, COVID-19 vaccines which have been given to millions of people in the UK are very safe. Those who got the vaccine experienced only mild and expected side effects

Falsehood 2: The COVID-19 vaccine alters the DNA.

A vaccine cannot alter human DNA. A vaccine’s only function is to generate an immunity against a disease.

Some of the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed with innovative technologies. In particular, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology. The representation of a natural chemical substance - RNA matrix - is used to invoke an immune response. After entering a cell, the RNA vaccine acts as an RNA matrix and teaches the cells to generate the unknown protein or a fragment of the protein which can generate an immune response. The mRNA vaccines do not affect human DNA.

A viral vector vaccine, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine, is also used against COVID-19. In this case, another virus is being modified. In particular, the coronavirus gene, the so-called spike protein, is delivered by an adenoviral vector. The immune system starts to respond to the COVID-19 virus and generate antibodies. Vector technology is a tested method and it was used to develop the Ebola vaccine. Other COVID-19 vaccines were developed with traditional technologies (protein vaccines, vaccines containing a fragment of the virus).

COVID-19 vaccines and, generally, no vaccines can alter the human genetic code. Vaccines cannot penetrate the cell nucleus and, therefore, are unable to alter it. During genetic modification, alien DNA is introduced into the cell nucleus. Vaccines do not work like this.

Falsehood 3: The COVID-19 vaccine causes strong side effects.

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines have strong side effects. Some people experience mild symptoms after vaccination, such as muscle ache, headache and fever. In some cases, the vaccine also causes an allergic reaction.

The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) published a report on allergic reactions after receipt of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. According to the report, 21 cases of severe allergic reactions were detected after the administration of a reported 1.9 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine between 14-23 December 2020 which means 11.1 cases per one million doses. In addition, lethal outcomes did not occur even for those with severe cases of infection. Of these 21 cases recorded in the report, anaphylactic shock (severe allergic reaction) occurred within 13 minutes on average. This is why people are asked to spend some time at the vaccination point immediately after its administration. According to the CDC, the vaccine-associated risk is lower as compared to the risk associated with severe forms of COVID-19. Of additional note is that allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock, are not side effects unique for the COVID-119 vaccine. Similar allergic reactions may be sparked as a result of getting different medications or from ingesting certain foods.

Falsehood 4: People die as a result of COVID-19 vaccination.

As of 9 February 2021, 2.3 million have died from the novel coronavirus across the world whilst the number of deaths from COVID-19 vaccines is zero.

Fake news on deaths after COVID-19 vaccination is actively promoted. It was reported that 23 people died in Norway as a result of the coronavirus vaccination. There were indeed cases of death among elderly people living in Norway’s nursing homes shortly after being administered with the COVID-19 vaccines. As a result of autopsies, no links were found between the vaccine and these cases of death. As stated by the Norwegian Medicines Agency officials,there is no evidence of a direct association between the latest deaths among these elderly people and the COVID-19 vaccines.

Falsehood 5: People are being “chipped” with the vaccine.

The claim that vaccines are used to inject microchips into a human body is not true. Conspiracy theories about “chipping” people are associated with Bill Gates, the founder of the Microsoft. The rumours behind this disinformation are based on Bill Gate’s charity work which involves public health, including the development of vaccines. There is no logical ground that it is possible to inject chips into humans with vaccination.

Bill Gates himself made a statement about the existence of Nano chips in the vaccine as early as in June 2020. Mr Gates said: “It's almost hard to deny this stuff because it's so stupid or strange. Simply repeating these theories give them more credibility.”

In addition, both Pfizer and Moderna have published the list of ingredients they used for the development their vaccine. The information about implanting Nano chips with vaccines is groundless and there is no evidence to prove this.

[1] When referring to COVID-19 vaccines, we mean those having authorisation from international regulatory bodies such as BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.