Coronavirus

  • New Delta Variant of COVID-19: Facts, Symptoms and What We Know so Far

    Since the Coronavirus became a pandemic, there have been new variations of the virus which have left scientists researching daily to find more clues about it.  Scientists and health experts call this process mutation. Mutation, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute (NIH) , is a change in a DNA sequence which can be as a result of  DNA copying mistakes made during cell division, exposure to ionizing radiation, exposure to chemicals called mutagens, or infection by viruses.  Viruses do this  to adapt and survive in new environments.

    Although there have been approved vaccines to help fight the pandemic, there are still new variations. Variations such as the Alpha variant, the Beta variant, the Kappa variant and the C.37 or the Lambda variant exist. The latest of the COVID-19 variations is the Delta.

    What is Known About the Delta Variant?

    According to the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, emerged in India and is currently widespread. Evidence suggests that it is potentially more transmissible than other variants.

    The CDC has indicated that the Delta variant can spread more easily in indoor settings than other variants. Currently, the Delta variant has been detected in more than 60 countries including Ghana. As of early July, it has become the dominant form of the coronavirus in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and other countries. In the U.K., for instance, the Delta variant now makes up more than 97% of new COVID-19 cases, according to Public Health England.

    Are the symptoms of the Delta variant different?

    Public health officials  say the symptoms of the Delta variant  are similar to those seen with the original coronavirus strain and other variants. This includes persistent cough, headache, fever, and sore throat which are symptoms already associated with the first strain of coronavirus.

    However, WebMD reports that some COVID-19 patients in the UK  have reported slightly different symptoms for the Delta variant, according to data from the ZOE COVID Symptom Study. Cough and loss of smell seem to be less common. Headache, sore throat, runny nose, and fever seem to be more common.

    How Deadly is the Delta Variant?

    A recent study by The Lancet indicates that, given its faster spread, the Delta variant is likely to increase hospitalization and deaths, especially in people who have not received any of the approved vaccines.  

    Health experts say the approved vaccines have shown some effectiveness against the Delta variant. According to  Public Health England, a preliminary analysis has shown that two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine appeared to be about 88% effective against disease prevention and 96% effective against hospitalization with respect to the Delta variant. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not been authorized for use in the U.S., was about 60% effective against disease and 93% effective against hospitalization.

  • False; COVID-19 jabs not causing magnetic effects in the arm

    Claim: Social media posts suggest magnets are sticking to the jab area on peoples arms because there are magnetic elements in the Covid-19 vaccines.

    Senior medical officials have dispelled these assertions.

    Full Text

    Videos and photos circulating on various social media platforms are suggesting that magnets and metals have been found to stick to the arm, particularly at the area the Covid-19 jab is administered, after taking a dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

    The videos and photos claiming this has been posted across various social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.

    Social media users are using the hashtag, #MagnetChallenge as tags on these posts.

    A Ghanaian has also joined in making these claims. 

    In a video, the man, appearing in a police uniform, made an exhibition to back the claims.

    Image: The unidentified Ghanaian man claiming that he could stick a phone to the arm after taking the jab.

    Verification

    For there to be a magnetic attraction, there must be magnetic elements in the area where there is the attraction.

    Since these persons linked the supposed magnetic attraction to the Covid-19 jab, we checked the composition of some of the vaccines, including Sputnik V and Astrazeneca, which are being administered in Ghana, to ascertain if they have magnetic properties.

    Composition of Pfizer

    Producers of the Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 vaccine have listed MRNA, lipids, potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose as its ingredients.

    Composition of Sputnik V

    The ingredients in this vaccine include Tris-(hydroxymethyl)-aminomethane, Sodium chloride, Sucrose, Magnesium chloride hexahydrate, Disodium EDTA dihydrate, Polysorbate 80, Ethanol, and Water.

    Composition of Astrazeneca

    The Astrazeneca Vaccine is made from a modified adenovirus which causes the common cold in chimpanzees. This virus has been modified so that it cannot cause an infection. It is used to deliver the genetic code for the coronavirus spike protein. The vaccine also contains inactive ingredients such as polysorbate 80, an emulsifier, and a very small amount of alcohol (0.002mg per dose). The vaccine also contains traces of magnesium (3 to 20 parts per million).

    Investigation in the composition of these elements show that they do not contain metals that could, in any way, be magnetic.

    Furthermore, Eric C. Palmer of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University, says that no significant quantity of magnet to cause a magnetic effect can be injected into the arm considering the size of the needle used in the vaccination. 

    “The vaccine needles are extremely small, a fraction of a millimetre in size. So even if you inject an extremely magnetic particle, it would be so small in size that there wouldn’t be enough force on it to actually keep a magnet stuck to your skin,” he told the BBC in an interview.

    Ghana’s Presidential advisor on health, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, says that these claims are being peddled by persons of the anti-vaccine movement and has urged the public to ignore such claims.

    He stressed that the vaccines that are being administered are safe for the public.

    “There is no iota of truth in what they are saying. It is a complete hoax. There is nothing that you can have a metal attached to your hand unless you have implanted a magnet inside there. The bone, muscle, blood vessels, skin and subskin do not have magnetic properties so it beats my imagination,” he told Dubawa Ghana.  

    The Director of the West Africa Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) at the University of Ghana, Gordon A. Awandare has described these claims as a hoax.

    He says that people making such assertions are doing so with the motive of discouraging others from taking the jab.

    “These are pranks that people are playing. There is nothing like that. I have taken the vaccine and there is nothing wrong. People should ignore these videos and shouldn’t even give them the attention they are getting. This is a total hoax, there is nothing like that. These are people who are anti-vaccine people and they just do propaganda to discourage people from taking the vaccine so you should not even tolerate this kind of mischief,” he said in an interview with Dubawa Ghana.

    Conclusion

    It is not true that the coronavirus jab is causing magnetic effects in the arm. It has not been proven scientifically that a medical condition can cause such an effect, unless there is a magnetic implantation in that part of the body.

    This report was produced under the Dubawa Student Fact-checking Project aimed at offering students in tertiary schools aspiring to take up roles in the profession the opportunity to acquire real-world experience through verification and fact-checking. 

  • Ayariga’s claims on Akufo-Addo receiving malaria vaccination instead of COVID-19 vaccination & others false

    Claim: Akufo-Addo received a malaria vaccine, not coronavirus jab – Hassan Ayariga alleges.

    President Akufo-Addo received a COVID-19 vaccine, not a malaria vaccine. The malaria vaccine is currently being piloted in selected parts of the country and is being administered to children between two and six years of age.

    Full Text

    Hassan Ayariga, 2020 flagbearer of the All People’s Congress (APC), has alleged that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo is yet to receive the real COVID-19 vaccine.

    According to him, the President received a malaria vaccine and not a COVID-19 vaccine, on March 1, 2021, during a live televised event to kickstart Ghana’s COVID-19 National Vaccination Programme.

    The claim was published on Ghanaweb in an interview to be aired on Monday, June 14, 2021, on GhanaWebTV.

    “Ghana is the first country to take the vaccine, the president went and they gave him malaria vaccine and you call it corona vaccine, that was not corona vaccine. I’m sure he took malaria vaccine, that’s politics for you,” he claimed.

    Verification

    Ghana received over 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines under the WHO / UNICEF – led equitable vaccine distribution platform, COVAX.

    On March 1, the president, his wife, and other top government functionaries publicly took their first dose of the vaccines, which was covered and reported by the WHO, the official Facebook page of the President as well as UTV on Youtube President Akufo-Addo, wife takes first COVID-19 Vaccine – YouTube

       Screenshots of President Akuffo Addo receiving the first shoot of COVID-19 Vaccines

    In the video that showed the president taking the jab, nurses from the hospital administered the vaccines to the president and his spouse, publicly showing the bottles of the AstraZeneca vaccine that were used.

    Also, photo evidence is available to show the exact bottle and the content that was given to the president, also shown below:

    About the Malaria Vaccine: Are they available and are adults eligible?

    The claim that President Akuffo Addo took a malaria vaccine is also false.

    RTS, S is the first, and to date, the only vaccine that has demonstrated it can significantly reduce malaria, and life-threatening severe malaria, in young children. Beginning in 2019, three sub-Saharan African countries – Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi – are leading the introduction of the vaccine in selected areas of moderate-to-high malaria transmission as part of a large-scale pilot programme coordinated by WHO.

    Screenshot of eligibility for the malaria vaccine

    Specifically, the MVIP will assess the feasibility of administering the recommended four doses of the vaccine in children; the vaccine’s potential role in reducing childhood deaths; and its safety in the context of routine use. Data and information derived from the pilot will inform a WHO policy recommendation on the broader use of the vaccine.

    The vaccine is currently being implemented as a pilot under the malaria vaccine implementation programme (MVIP) and integrated into the EPI in Ghana.

    It is given to targeted children from six to two years of age.

    Not even all children in the implementing countries are covered, hence, it is very unlikely an adult like the President will be given a malaria vaccine.

    These two six-month-old babies were among the first to receive the new malaria vaccine during the national launch of the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme in Ghana.

    Listening to Mr. Ayariga in the interview, he did not specify any evidence at his disposal but only claimed that:

    “You see, we Africans we are dumb! A white man will never give you something good first when it is too good before himself, never. They have produced all those vaccines. Tell me, how many of these white countries have started taking the vaccine?”

    Was Ghana the first country to start COVID-19 vaccinations? Even before the “white” countries?

    The claim that no “white country started taking the vaccine” before Ghana is false.

    On the 21st December 2020, then US President-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, and on 11th  January  2021,  Biden got his second COVID jab as US ramped up vaccinations.

    On December 20, then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was inoculated against COVID-19. He along with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein got vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine live on television.

    Then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu taking his vaccine.

    Several other notable figures, including Queen Elizabeth, Kamala Harris, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman are reported to have taken a COVID-19 vaccine.

    Conclusion

    It is evident from this fact check, among other things, that President Akufo-Addo is not eligible for the current malaria vaccine and therefore will not have been given that in place of a COVID-19 jab. It is also not true that no “white” country started the vaccination roll-out before Ghana launched hers on March 1, 2021. Therefore, Mr Ayariga’s claim that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo took a malaria vaccine instead of the coronavirus vaccine is completely FALSE.

    The Fact Checker produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship in partnership with ADARS FM (RADIO) to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • Is COVID-19 causing a permanent swelling of the tongue?

    According to some news portals, some Covid-19 patients are developing a condition that causes their tongue to permanently expand so much that they can not speak or eat. 

    Image source: Peacefmonline.com

    Information available suggests although there are some indications of COVID-19 causing some rare cases of macroglossia (a medical term for an unusually large tongue which causes difficulty in eating, speaking, swallowing and even sleeping) not much is known as to why yet. Furthermore, unlike the claim that these cases are permanent, they are actually treatable with surgery.

    The case of the massive enlargement of the tongue

    In Houston, doctors have recorded some cases of massively enlarged tongues in patients who had been hospitalized due to COVID-19. According to news reports on the matter, the condition is called macroglossia, which presents with an unusually large tongue which causes difficulty in eating, speaking, swallowing and even sleeping.

    Recorded cases

    According to Dr. James Melville, associate professor in the Bernard and Gloria Pepper Katz Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at UTHealth School of Dentistry,  who is a specialist in dealing with macroglossia, about nine cases of macroglossia had been reported in the United States. 

    Dr. Melville and other colleagues had published a study in 2018 publication titled “Unusual Case of a Massive Macroglossia Secondary to Myxedema: A Case Report and Literature Review.  The date of the publication indicates that those cases within the publication were before the onset of COVID-19, however, as the issue at hand was the same, Melville and his team were able to help. 

    In macroglossia’s relation to COVID-19,  Melville is of the view that these cases may have to do with “where the virus attaches itself and the body’s immune response to it”.

    It was further suggested that patients who survived the virus had inflammatory cells in their tongue tissue which suggests that there is something about the virus that makes certain individuals prone to the rare condition.

    Breakdown of the cases recorded so far

    Of the nine cases recorded, eight of the patients were of black descent. Two of them had suffered from strokes and seven of them had been hospitalized with COVID-19 prior to developing macroglossia. 

    Can it be treated?

    Yes! Unlike the claim in question suggests, the condition is not permanent as it can be corrected through a 45 minute surgery. Melville is conducting a study to find what links there may be between recovered COVID-19 patients and macroglossia.

  • COVID-19 Vaccination: Timing, Number of Doses Required For Full Protection

    Currently, one of the effective ways to stay protected against COVID-19 virus is to get a shot of any of the approved vaccines. Since the first jab was given in December 2020, several questions have been asked about efficacy and safety. Although medical experts and scientists are still studying the virus, symptoms and the vaccine, the World Health Organization (WHO)  has assured of its safety and effectiveness in fighting the pandemic.

    Is a single dose enough to protect me?

    According to the requirements of some of the approved vaccines, (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), individuals will be fully protected from coronavirus after they have taken two doses of the vaccine. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has advised people to get their second shot, even if they have side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or their doctor tells them not to get it.

    In Ghana, for instance, the first set of vaccines was rolled out on March 2, 2021, giving people the opportunity to get their first dose. After more than 10 weeks of receiving the first dose, people who received their first jab are required to take a second dose as has been prescribed by global health agencies.

    However, here’s one question that is still bothering several people: Do I necessarily need a second dose?

    The answer to this question depends on the type of vaccine one’s country has been administering. According to the CDC, people who receive a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will need 2 shots to get the most protection.

    A third vaccine, AstraZeneca, also requires a second shot to be effective. However, the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine by Johnson and Johnson requires only a single dose. 

    A December 2020 Pfizer data  report suggested that the  Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is roughly 52% effective after the first dose. This report from a preclinical trial demonstrated that a single dose was not enough to maximize one’s protection from the virus. The  report further indicates that taking the second dose is  95% effective at preventing the disease after a week.

    What should be the timing intervals between the first and the second shot?

    Although Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna require a second shot, the interval between when one should get a second shot differs. According to the CDC, people who receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine would have to get  their second shot three weeks (or 21 days) after their  first.

    For other vaccines like Moderna, the CDC states that the second shot should be taken four weeks (or 28 days) after the first.

    For Vaccines like AstraZeneca which was administered in Ghana, health experts say the second dose can  be administered between four and 12 weeks after the first shot.

    For Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, it is advised that a second shot be taken as close to the recommended three-week or four-week interval as possible. However, in cases where there is a  delay, the second  dose may be given up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if necessary.

    Research and clinical trials have demonstrated that  COVID-19 vaccine protection starts from about two weeks after the second dose.

    Can I take the second dose earlier than recommended?

    No. According to the CDC, one should not get the second dose earlier than recommended by manufacturers and health professionals. This is because there is currently limited information on the effectiveness of receiving your second shot earlier than recommended or later than six weeks after the first shot.

    However, people do not have to restart the entire vaccination process if they  receive the second shot of COVID-19 vaccine earlier or later than recommended.

  • COVID-19: Thinking of Getting Vaccinated? Here are a Few Things to Know

    Have you recently considered taking the COVID-19 vaccine? Are you worried you might be asked to test for the virus before vaccination? Or concerned that your neighbour who took the vaccine wasn’t tested?

    This last question prompted a Twitter user with the name Godwin Boateng to tweet at Dubawa recently. Boateng would like to know why Covid-19 tests are not being conducted before vaccines are administered.

    To answer his question, we set out to find information on the vaccine administration and why tests are not being run before the jabs.

    Indeed, unlike other vaccinations for diseases such as Hepatitis B that may  require individuals to be tested for the disease before getting vaccinated, the COVID-19 inoculation is different. 

    According to Dr Kasule Iddrisu Yakubu, a Medical Officer at Bolga Regional Hospital, “vaccines are for prevention, not treatment”, and it is on that basis that people who are tested and found to be infected with Hepatitis B are not vaccinated.

    He also added that in some cases, like Hepatitis B, people may never be cured completely and thus taking the vaccine is of no use. He is, however, unsure why the same is not being done with the Covid-19 vaccinations.

    Generally, information available online suggests that there is no need for COVID-19 tests to be run on people before being tested, especially if there are no symptoms showing signs of contraction.

    Here is what we know.

    • You do not need to be tested before getting the shot if you have no symptoms.

    Dubawa reached out to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) for clarification on the issue. In an email response,  the CDC stated that,

    “At this time, CDC is not recommending that anyone be tested for active or prior infection before getting vaccinated for COVID-19.” It did not, however, indicate to us why this is the case.

    Health professionals, including Dr. Steve Feagins, MD Chief Clinical Officer, Mercy Health, and Dr Malik Marshall, a physician, practicing doctor and medical reporter, have also spoken on the matter and expressed similar views

    “No, you don’t need to be tested beforehand unless you are having COVID-19 symptoms, in which case you should be. But even if you get a vaccine and you are infected with the coronavirus and you don’t have any symptoms, it’s fine, it’s not dangerous, go ahead and get vaccinated,” Dr. Mallik Marshall said in an interview with CBS Boston.

    • Do not go for the shot if you have symptoms of the disease (sudden loss of smell and taste, muscle aches, fever, difficulty in breathing, a cough or fatigue).

    According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,

    “No. People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.”

    Another angle to why people with symptoms should refrain from going to the vaccination centers is that, according to an abcnews report, there is a risk of infecting other people. 

    • If you had the disease and have recovered, you can still get vaccinated.

    According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recovered COVID-19 patients should also get vaccinated. It is, however, recommended that such patients wait for up to 90 days if they were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma before getting vaccinated.

    WHO’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, also has said that it is recommended that people who have been previously infected with Covid-19 still take the vaccine jabs.

    This is supported by some studies which suggest that waiting for up to three months after being infected with COVID-19 can be beneficial  to patients as there are chances the body will generate greater immune response to the virus.

    A study, “SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Response in Persons with Past Natural Infection”, which examined Italian health care workers found that recovered patients are more likely to to have a higher antibody response if they waited up to three months after recovery before getting their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

    Another study, “Antibody Responses in Seropositive Persons after a Single Dose of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine”, also found that people who previously had COVID-19 generated similar or stronger antibody response after a single dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine as compared to people who had never contracted the COVID-19 disease who had received two doses of the vaccines previously mentioned.

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) has also stated that people who have been infected with the Covid-19 virus and recovered should also get vaccinated.

    “Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again.”

    All-in-all, tests are not a must before getting the COVID-19 vaccination. However, it is important that the spread of the virus is mitigated by avoiding vaccination centers when one exhibits COVID-19 symptoms. 

  • COVID-19 Vaccines and Fertility: What You Need to Know

    Even before the world could find a vaccine for coronavirus, a lot of conspiracy theories had been churned out on many platforms including social media. From altering DNAs to enlarging the male sexual organ, misinformation peddlers would not stop at anything to make sure people rejected the vaccines. The misinformation on vaccines became alarming when the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners started rolling out the vaccines. 

    In all of this, one of the most circulated claims on social media about the vaccines is that relating to fertility. Several social media users have shared messages regarding this with no particular source cited. Some of them have claimed that men and women who have the intention of getting pregnant in future should not take the vaccine as it may make them sterile and infertile (See some of the claims in the  screenshots below).

    Aside from these social media claims, other people have concerns on the safety of the vaccines in relation to fertility.

    In this report, we find out what experts say about the vaccines and fertility in both men and women.

    Will an approved COVID-19 vaccine make one infertile?

    The general safety of approved COVID-19 vaccines has already been established by the WHO. The organization has indicated that “before receiving validation from WHO and national regulatory agencies, COVID-19 vaccines must undergo rigorous testing in clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and effectiveness.” 

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine have indicated that it is scientifically unlikely for any of the approved vaccines to cause fertility loss in women.

    “While fertility was not specifically studied in the clinical trials of the vaccine, no loss of fertility has been reported among trial participants or among the millions who have received the vaccines since their authorization, and no signs of infertility appeared in animal studies. Loss of fertility is scientifically unlikely,” the three organizations said in a joint statement.

    Although the America Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that scientists are still studying the vaccines for side effects; there is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in humans.

    Do you Need to Delay Getting Pregnant after Vaccination?

    Furthermore, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has  also indicated that people do not need to delay getting pregnant after getting a dose of the vaccine as “there is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility.”

    According to another publication by University of Chicago School of Medicine, women can still go ahead and take the second dose of the vaccine even after finding out they are pregnant after the first dose. According to the publication, the “only possible risk physicians are currently aware of with the vaccine is the possibility of a fever following the second dose, a side effect experienced by around 10-15% of vaccine recipients.”

    Is it safe for pregnant women to be Vaccinated?

    Although pregnant women were excluded from the trials of all the approved COVID-19 vaccines even though the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists had insisted that they be included, studies have so far shown that the vaccines are safe for pregnant women. 

    Nonetheless,  a publication by WebMD suggests that Pfizer, one of the pharmaceutical companies producing COVID-19 vaccines,  is studying its two-dose vaccine in 4,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women to see how safe the effects of Covid-19 vaccines are.  The report further says that the researchers will also look at how safe the vaccine is for infants and whether mothers pass along antibodies to children. Results of this study are expected to be ready by the end of year, according to the report.

    On their website, Pfizer has also indicated that although there is evidence that a very short amino acid sequence in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 that is partly shared with a protein in the placenta called syncytin-1 is likely to occur after getting a shot; Pfizer says it is scientifically unlikely for that process to cause infertility.

    Is it safe for lactating Women to Be Vaccinated?

    Yes. Experts at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say it is safe for breastfeeding women to get the vaccine. According to them “there is no need to stop breastfeeding if you want to get a vaccine. After you get vaccinated, the antibodies made by your body can be passed through breastmilk and can help protect your child from the virus.”

    While studies are still being done on the effects of COVID-19 Vaccines, reputable health agencies such as the CDC and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have indicated that none of the vaccines rolled out so far has been found to make men and women infertile.

  • COVID-19 related claims by Ghanaian man in a 17-minute video debunked

    Full text

    In a 17-minute 5-second video posted by Tino Media on Facebook, an unseen man who is heard speaking in a local Ghanaian language (Twi), alleges that the purpose for the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines is targeted at the elimination of Africans. He makes this main claim with about 13 other related claims in the video. The video is accompanied by an inscription in the post which reads “Do not take any vaccine; it is not safe. I think the vaccine must be investigated very well before vaccination.”

    The video, which has a thumbnail of Ghana’s president receiving his jab of the COVID-19 vaccine, has generated a number of comments from the public, most of them thanking the claimant for the awareness and stating that they will subsequently not be vaccinated.

    Dubawa translated the narration of the claimant in the 17-minute 5-second video from Twi to English to give more context to the claims.  The summary reads below as follows;

    Interviewer: Let me welcome you. Before we get to our president, I’m sure you have seen some videos circulating about a nurse on the frontline deciding to be injected and in less than 3minutes, she collapsed. Now they stopped the camera men that were around. I will say she died. And a second video of a guy singlehandedly saying that Islamic is against abortion, and the medicines that are being done are as though you’re having family planning.

    Claimant: COVID-19 is not “CoronaVirus Disease released in the year 2019’’ that’s what they’ve said for a lot of people to believe. It’s real name is Certificate of Vaccination Identity and the 19 stands for AI. When you take the English alphabets which stands for Artificial Intelligence so it is a Certificate of Vaccination Identity using Artificial Intelligence. Bill Gates has a patent for this called Radio Frequency Identity. It is a chip. They use a material which looks liquid but when it gets inside you, it is an artificial intelligence. It is called a nano technology. It spreads throughout the system and you become an agent so that when you are being looked for, you will be found easily. If they put the satellite and the 5G in you, they will find you. This kind of vaccination identity. The Bill Gates RFID technology that he did, if you do something and you don’t want anyone to steal it, you go for something called a patent to protect it. We have two types of patents. The American type is called A, and the global type is called WO. Bill Gates is American and with the RFID, he went with the WO because he knows he is doing it for the whole world. So his number is WO 06, 06 06. He has put the 0’s there so you don’t identify it as 666. So the number is World Patent Number WO 666 and there are zeros in between so you do not recognise it. Someone who is Christian shouldn’t take it because it is an anti-Christ sign which the Bible talks about that if you get that sign you can’t travel, engage in business, you can’t do anything. Right now, the pandemic didn’t work like how they expected it to. Bill Gates’ wife said that we will die like soldier ants in hundreds and thousands and they said about 35 million Africans would die but it didn’t happen that way. If it had happened the way they expected it, we would have all been rushed to take the vaccine . Vaccine was done in 2015 not today. They started during the Lockstep 2010 document that I brought so the vaccine was done between 2010 and 2015. Covid is also something from micro organisms -one is from HIV that they did to kill Africans in South Africa and the second one is the SARS-2. So it’s the HIV and SARS which is called a hybrid COVID-19. Now the COVID-19, when you look into it, the number of people who have died outside America is just a few. In America, when someone dies and you show a death certificate stating COVID-19, then they give you 19,000 free. There are a lot of doctors, some have died with asthma, some have died with blood pressure, some have died with cancer but you check their death certificate and you see COVID-19 on it because he is going to get 19, 000 in exchange. They did that because they wanted  the numbers to be high so they alert everyone on the high number of COVID-19 so people take the vaccine. China has 1.2 billion people being the first country to have gotten this virus, but not a lot of people died but why is that America with all their sophisticated technology had so many people dying -they are lying. So the American figures are a fake, okay. So that’s the COVID-19 story which didn’t work. They said if it doesn’t work, they will bring another one which is more dangerous and this will be a tribrid which means you are combining three things-the HIV Aids and the two SARS and then they added MERS, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. They said that will kill a lot of people in order for people to take the vaccine. The whole point of this is the vaccination, that is the endgame. So even though the virus didn’t have as much impact as they wanted, if you realise they have brought a new strain, which spreads fast. They have brought it to California and London. In London, it is Africans that they are looking for cause they know Ghanaians are travelling, South Africans are travelling, Nigerians are travelling, West Africans go to London so no matter what, if they take it there and an African gets affected, or someone coming from there can bring it to Africa. So yesterday, before he spoke, I did a tape for the president telling him that I beg him before he talks, he should close airlines. As I speak, Belgium and Holland have stopped planes from Britain from landing. They said they wouldn’t let them land because of the deadly strain of the COVID-19. I sent it to the president, he didn’t listen. So the pictures you sent us, that wasn’t all. There were a lot of people that took photos showing the syringe on their skin but it had been closed, that is also going round. If you’re going to inject someone, there is already medicine in the syringe and many people including CNN when because they know we know what is going on, they took close shots. The syringe has already been closed. There are a lot of photos showing we are being deceived. Number 2 they said they were going to let some leaders take the shots first. If the leader comes and it is only sea water in the syringe, how will you know. They come into public to take the shots with nothing in the syringe. Yesterday a lady went to take the vaccine and she said she was okay. We saw another clip of the COVID vaccine where it was written ‘not for use in Canada, america and europe’. Why is this so, that means you know where it is supposed to go. So it has been divided so don’t think that when you see that a white person has been vaccinated and is okay, you the black person will be fine, they are lying. Even if a Ghanaian says they have taken the shots and are okay, don’t believe it because the country they are in, it is different from the vaccines they are receiving. And also, those vaccinating know the vaccine to give to black people abroad when they go to take the vaccine you are not there, so if they go take the vaccine meant for Africans, you won’t know so if you are injected. Oh yesterday, 200 people were injected, only one was complaining. It is not like that, the one complaining received a different vaccine that’s why it is like that. 

    Also they have given them legal immunity, there are restaurant people who put a signup that you eat at your risk. How is that government yesterday Britain brought out an instruction for covid 19 that read that if you are injected and you die, that is your own problem, you can’t sue any pharmaceutical company. They have been given legal immunity. The vaccines they have brought, they have written on it that if you’re injected and there is a problem, don’t ask them. America, Britain and Europe have all signed a contract with them. In Britain or America, about 100 people got injected. They gave everyone 100,000 dollars for a non disclosure agreement that says if you are vaccinated and something happens to you don’t tell anyone to become a problem. And in case you die, we can’t be sued or if you get a reaction. Also in Holland, Netherlands, 87, 000 nurses have signed petitions to not be vaccinated. It’s the health workers who would have been vaccinated for us to confirm that the vaccine was okay. The nurse who got vaccinated, 17 minutes later and she fainted. They couldn’t find her to bring her forward to speak so if it is someone else who was brought to us to speak or if she survived, we don’t know. When she fell down, we all saw it. So the nurses in Holland said they won’t be vaccinated. Also they said they love Africans so much so we should be the first to take the vaccines. They don’t want us to suffer or die. So in California and about 10 states of the US said Blacks and Spanish people should be the first to be vaccinated and they said they are joking. 

    Melinda Gates also said that she doesn’t want the poor nations to be cheated so we should start with the poor nations. Do you think we are kids? So let everyone know that it is Black people they are looking for. We are 728 billion people on the planet, they want to reduce it to 500 million which is 0.5 billion. Nobody is doing politics. We have already explained that before the HIV-Aids virus and Sars 2 virus come together to be one, in the natural world it will take over a 100 million years. It won’t happen. It is absolutely impossible. They did this in Fort Detrick in America. Please the 2010 lockstep document that I brought, go and read it. It is in there. And they took it to Winnipeg Canada and they moved from there to Wuhan, and they went to the game market where they sell animals called wet market. That is why they did it like an accident. They are lying, it is from Fort Detrick in America. So the person who did the virus is doing the vaccine and asking people to be injected, who is the wicked person?

    We fact-checked the claims identified in the video.

    Claim 1: COVID-19 is not “CoronaVirus Disease released in the year 2019’’ but it’s real name is Certificate of Vaccination Identity using Artificial Intelligence.

    COVID-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019 and there is no accessible evidence of COVID-19 being an acronym indicating vaccination identity or artificial intelligence. 

    Verification

    The disease was named in February 2020 before a vaccine was found in 2020. On 11 February 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the name of the novel Coronavirus to be COVID-19. According to a WHO publication on 11 February 2020, the name COVID-19 was chosen following best practices and did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual, or group of people in order to avoid inaccuracy and stigma associated with the disease.

    The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also stated the meaning of COVID-19 in a publication on 1 September 2020. The statement reads;

    “The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.”

    Claim 2: Bill Gates has a trackable microchip in vaccines through a RFID

    Bill Gates has not designed an RFID and has no trackable microchips implanted in vaccines.

    Verification

    According to an investigation by Logically, the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) which uses radio waves to read and capture information stored in an object was not designed by Bill Gates.

    “Bill Gates did not design or patent radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips. One of the first such patents was taken out in the 1970s by Charles Walton, who went to Cornell, and Mario W. Cardullo. No single individual may take credit for all of the technological advances that lead up to the ultimate development of RFID,” the report read.

    Furthermore, Bill Gates has denied this claim on countless occasions. In a media interview reported by USAToday announcing a $1.6 billion in funding for immunization in poor countries, Gates stated that he has never been involved in any sort of microchipping conspiracy.

    “In a way, it’s so bizarre you almost want to see it as something humorous, but it’s really not a humorous thing,” he said. “It’s almost hard to deny this stuff because it’s so stupid or strange that even to repeat it gives it credibility,” Gates said.

    The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation also debunked this claim to the BBC.

    The claim is suspected to have emerged from two possible sources. Firstly, in March 2020, Bill Gates announced the need for “digital certificates” to identify recovered, tested, and vaccinated persons against COVID-19. However, no mention was made of microchips or an RFID technology implanted in vaccines. 

    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation explained that “The reference to ‘digital certificates’ relates to efforts to create an open-source digital platform with the goal of expanding access to safe, home-based testing.”

    Also, a partly funded research by Bill and Melinda Gates on a technology to store vaccine records while being vaccinated through an invisible dye developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, may also have led to this claim. However, the research shows that the technology is not a trackable microchip.

    “The technology is not a microchip and is more like an invisible tattoo. It has not been rolled out yet, would not allow people to be tracked and personal information would not be entered into a database,” according to a scientist involved in the study, Ana Jaklenec.

    Claim 3: Bill Gates’ wife said that we will die like soldier ants in hundreds and thousands and they said about 35 million Africans would die but it didn’t happen that way. 

    There is no evidence of Melinda Gates saying Africans will die in hundreds and thousands from the pandemic, however, there is evidence of Melinda Gates  stating the possible dire effects the pandemic will have on Africans due to poor infrastructure.

    Verification

    In a CNN interview with Melinda Gates from last year April 2020, which has been taken out of context by many social media posts to fit the claim, Melinda Gates stated that from her experience and foundation work in Africa, she had concerns for how Africa would deal with the pandemic with some communities having poor conditions such as unclean water and slums. 

    “It’s going to be horrible in the developing world. The reason the case numbers don’t look very bad is because they don’t have access to tests. Look at Ecuador, they are putting bodies out on the street, you’re going to see that in countries in Africa,” Gates said

    Also, all associated claims alleging that Melinda Gates’ husband, Bill Gates, has also mentioned the death or reduction of population have been taken out of context and debunked by a number of fact-checkers. For example, no evidence has been found on Bill Gates saying at least 3 billion people need to die. Similarly, the claim that Bill Gates has said that 700,000 people will be killed or permanently disabled by COVID-19 vaccines is false.

    In a report by Reuters in April 2020, however, there is evidence of the United Nations Economic Commision for Africa (UNECA) estimating that about 300,000 Africans (not 35 million as the claim states) will die in the pandemic.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic will likely kill at least 300,000 Africans and risks pushing 29 million into extreme poverty, the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) said on Friday, calling for a $100 billion safety net for the continent,” the report read.

    Claim 4: COVID-19 vaccine was done between 2010 and 2015 not today, as shown in a Lockstep 2010 document. 

    Verdict:

    There has been no known COVID-19 vaccine till trials for a COVID-19 vaccine started in 2020. 

    Verification

    According to the WHO, trials for a COVID-19 vaccine started in 2020

    In the 2010 lockstep document titled “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development” cited by the claimant to document the vaccine manufacturing, no mention of vaccines is made. On page 18 of the document, which contains the chapter on the ‘Lockstep’ as a Scenario Narrative,  it shows a simulation exercise projecting the need for the advancement of technology. In the simulated scenario of a pandemic, other technological innovations were predicted and not a vaccine.

    Claim 5: COVID-19 is a hybrid of HIV and SARS-2

    There is no found evidence to prove this claim.

    Verification

    According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a novel Coronavirus that has previously not been seen in humans. Even though the exact source of the outbreak of COVID-19 is still unknown, it is known that it started from an animal, which is likely to be a bat. The CDC further explains that COVID-19 belongs to a family of Coronaviruses which are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. They add that COVID-19 is a beta coronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, where these viruses have their origins in bats.

    Human coronaviruses include some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses, while animal coronaviruses rarely infect people and later spread between people such as in the cases of two earlier coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.

    Claim 6: In America, when someone dies and a death certificate stating COVID-19 is shown, one receives 19,000 for free. There are a lot of doctors, who have died with asthma, with blood pressure, and with cancer but when you check their death certificate, you will see COVID-19 on it because they are going to get 19,000 in exchange. 

    Many Americans who died from COVID-19 are shown to have had contributing conditions to their death on their death certificates where necessary. There have been no public reports that hospitals or individuals are receiving 19,000 for COVID-19 deaths. 

    Verification

    According to a report by the CDC in August 2020, only 6% of deaths had COVID-19 as the cause while the remaining 94% of people who died from COVID-19 had other health conditions and contributing causes top among them being influenza and pneumonia, respiratory failure, hypertensive disease, diabetes, vascular and unspecified dementia, cardiac arrest, heart failure, renal failure, intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events, and other medical conditions.

    The CDC adds that the numbers are based on death certificates, which according to them are the most reliable source of data. 

    “Death certificates reportedly contain information that is not available anywhere else and includes comorbid conditions, race and ethnicity and place of death,” as reported by News Channel 8.

    Furthermore, in a detailed investigation by FOX 11 Channel in America on how death counts are done and if hospitals received more money for COVID-19 deaths, the claims were debunked. For example, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services says it follows the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for counting COVID-19 deaths which includes counting deaths that list COVID-19 as both an immediate and underlying cause of death. Additionally, Calumet County’s medical examiner, Mike Klaeser and Bellin Health Physician Dr. Robert Mead both agreed that COVID-19 can be listed as the immediate or underlying cause of death on a certificate making the CDC’s data accurate.

    Concerning the payment of money for COVID-19 deaths, the US government provided a coronavirus relief legislation which created a 20% premium, or add-on, for COVID-19 Medicare patients only. This 20% add-on from the CARES Act is only for services provided by hospitals (and not deaths as claimed) which are averaged to be about $35,000 per patient on a ventilator. There have been no public reports that hospitals or individuals are receiving 19,000 for COVID-19 deaths.

    Claim 7: As I speak, Belgium and Holland have stopped planes from Britain from landing 

    Even though UK flights were banned for a few days in Belgium and Holland in December, it is unclear when exactly the claimant made those claims. However, when the video was posted in March, those travel bans had been lifted by both countries. 

    Verification

    In December 2020, several news reports such as from the BBC, France 24 and Sky News showed that the European Union including Belgium and Holland temporarily banned flights from the UK as a precautionary measure to prevent the new variant of COVID-19 found in the UK from entering their borders.

    In Belgium, the ban on UK flights lasted for two days on 21 and 22 December, 2020, while in Holland, the ban is stated by the government to have lasted from 20 December to latest 1 January 2021.

    Claim 8: We are being deceived because there are  a lot of photos showing the syringe on people’s skin but it has been closed.

    The photos in circulation are a demonstration and not the real vaccination.

    Verification

    This claim has been debunked by Teyit in Turkey and published  by Poynter, explaining that all such photos and videos in circulation which started from Twitter are only a demonstration of the process, not the actual vaccination.

    Claim 9: There is a COVID vaccine which states ‘Not for use in Canada, America, and Europe.’ 

    The claim in question has already been debunked by Dubawa.

    Verification

    In our investigations, we found that the vaccine being associated with this claim is ‘Remdesivir’, which in truth, is not even a COVID-19 vaccine, more so a vaccine specially made for Africans. Remdesivir is an antiviral drug found helpful in treating COVID-19 patients which shortened recovery periods. The drug has generic versions which have the same components (such as Covifor) produced for countries in other regions of the world, including Africa. 

    Gilead, the manufacturers of Remdesivir, explained that the inscription that the drug is not to be distributed in the U.S, Canada, and European Union countries, only indicated restrictions in where the licensees of the drug could distribute it. A spokesperson at Hetero Labs (one of the companies to ensure the distribution of the drug in 127 countries) similarly explained that it was to prevent it from being sold illegally on the black market.

    “We think that this photo is part of a malicious campaign to create confusion around this drug,” the Hetero Labs spokesperson said. 

    Claim 10: America, Britain, and Europe have signed a contract with pharmaceutical companies giving them legal immunity. 

    Some pharmaceutical companies have been given legal immunity from American, British, and European governments. 

    Verification

    In America, a CNBC report shows that the U.S government has granted pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Moderna immunity to lawsuits in situations where something unexpected goes wrong with their vaccines. This, according to a Dallas labor and employment attorney, Rogge Dunn, is very rare for such a blanket immunity law to be passed. This is because pharmaceutical companies are not offered much liability protection under the law. 

    “If  you experience severe side effects after getting a Covid vaccine, lawyers tell CNBC there is basically no one to blame in a U.S. court of law,” the report stated. 

    Similarly, in Britain, an Independent report , shows that the UK government has given Pfizer protection from being sued ahead of the roll out of its vaccine across the country. 

    However in Europe, a Reuters report revealed that under different terms to a deal struck with Sanofi, European governments will bear some of the cost of claims of side-effects from AstraZeneca’s potential COVID-19 vaccine, however, above an agreed limit. 

    “Unexpected side-effects after a drug has regulatory approval are rare, but the speed at which a COVID-19 vaccine is being pursued increases the risks of unforeseen conditions. The deal with AstraZeneca, which shifts some of the risks involved in the roll-out of a vaccine to taxpayers, was struck in August and its liability clauses have not previously been reported,” the report added.

    Prior to this, the Financial Times reported that European pharmaceutical companies’ vaccines had lobbied to the European Union for their members to be protected from lawsuits in case of any problems with the vaccines, given the speed and scale of development of vaccines which may have inevitable risks.

    Claim 11: 87,000 nurses in the Netherlands, Holland, have signed petitions to not be vaccinated.

    This has been proven to be misleading as the numbers are a speculation based on a poll.

    Verification

    According to a fact-check  by VoxCheck Ukraine and Netherlands published on Poynter there has been no official refusal by medical staff to get COVID-19 vaccine in the Netherlands. The check concluded that the numbers are a speculation based on a poll conducted on plans of the government to offer the first vaccine to health workers, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.

    In this report by DutchNews for example, it revealed that a survey conducted showed that only one third of the members of nursing union Nu’91 say they will not accept being vaccinated against coronavirus while just over a third (36%) said they would agree to be vaccinated and the rest were not sure.

    In total, 3,300 out of 30,000 union members took part in the survey, which highlights the different attitudes to the vaccine across the medical sector. 

    Claim 12: The nurse who fainted on camera after being vaccinated died as they couldn’t find her to bring her forward to speak after.

    The nurse who fainted during a live press interview after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination jab on 17 December 2020 is alive and was revived shortly after her fainting.

    Verification

    The nurse, Tiffany Dover is a critical care nurse at Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Both Dover herself and CHI Memorial Hospital have confirmed that she is alive and well. 

    After her live press interview which showed her fainting, in an interview with WRCB Chattanooga, Dover explained that she has a history of overactive vagal response that causes her to feel weak, dizzy and disoriented when she experiences pain, which was what happened after she was injected with the vaccine which subsequently made her faint.

    “I feel fine now, and the pain in my arm is very minimal, actually,” Dover said.

    Furthermore, CHI Memorial Hospital has stated a number of times that Dover is alive and well. On 19 December, the hospital confirmed this in a tweet,

    “Nurse Tiffany Dover appreciates the concern shown for her. She is home and doing well. She asks for privacy for her and her family,” the hospital said.  

    The hospital also showed a video of Dover and her colleagues at work

    In addition, the vice president of marketing communications at CHI Memorial Hospital, Lisa McCluskey, told Associated Press that the claims stating Dover is dead are bogus. She further confirmed that Dover was feeling well and was working a shift at the hospital that day 21 December. 

    Claim 13: California and about 10 states of the US said Blacks and Spanish people should be the first to be vaccinated and Melinda Gates also said that she doesn’t want the poor nations to be cheated, so we should start with the poor nations.

    There have been no reports by American states indicating Blacks and Hispanics must be vaccinated first. Rather, priority is given to health workers and persons with underlying health conditions across the country with Blacks and Hispanics forming a low percentage.

    Verification

    While a report from the Washington Post shows that not many US states are recording racial and ethnical data to assess the fair distribution of vaccines, a report from Reuters also shows that Blacks and Hispanics are receiving a smaller portion of vaccines among the representation among healthcare workers and nursing home residents which are part of the priority groups for the COVID-19 inoculation.

    The Reuters report stated the data from the CDC which revealed the percentages of vaccination among Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites. 

    “Blacks received 5.4% of shots reported with race/ethnicity data, despite national data showing they made up 16% of healthcare workers and 14% of nursing home residents, two groups prioritized for the first wave of vaccinations. Hispanics received 11.5% of the shots, according to the available data, while making up 13% of healthcare workers and 5% of nursing home residents. Whites received 60.4% of shots and accounted for 60% of healthcare workers and 75% of nursing home residents”.

    This claim which has been mischaracterized and also attributed to Melinda Gates stating that Blacks need the vaccines first, has also been debunked by Reuters. 

    Melinda Gates mentioned in an interview with Time magazine in 2020 that in the US, Black people and many people of colour should be considered next in priority for vaccination after health care workers, given the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on Black people. 

    Conclusion

    The claims in the 17-minute 5-second video made by the Twi-speaking man have a single narrative to pitch vaccines against Africans or the Black community. Most of these claims, circulating in other countries already and have already been investigated in detail by other fact-checkers, were found to be false. However, the claims which were found to be true are misleadingly placed in the context of discussion to dissuade Africans from being vaccinated while the rest of the claims remain unsupported and unproven by evidence. The claimant makes a few true, and a lot of false and unsubstantiated claims about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines

  • A 45-Days Post-Covid-19 Inoculation Alcohol Abstinence has not Been Advised By Health Experts

    Claim: Do not consume alcohol for 45 days after the Covid-19 vaccination.

    Overall, alcohol consumption has been proven to have potential negative effects on general health. However, while it is recommended to refrain from alcohol consumption some days before and after the jab, a 45-days alcohol fast has not been advised by the institutions at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic fight. In Ghana, the FDA recommends a two-days abstinence before and after vaccination.

    Full Text

    Messages circulating on social media purport that individuals who have been inoculated against Covid-19 should not consume alcohol for up to 45 days after vaccination. One such message on Facebook, in the form of a newspaper article shared by a user, cites one M.K Sudarshan, chairman of the State’s Technical Advisory Committee, as the originator of the said claim.  Sudarshan, according to the article, said alcohol consumption affects ‘immune response’ to the vaccine as observed in other vaccines in the past.

    Image source: Facebook User

    Verification

    Our initial searches revealed that this claim is from an original report by The Hindu, a daily paper and E-paper publication, in January 2021. The article references M.K. Sudarshan, Chairman of the State’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) who stated that after taking the jab, alcohol should be avoided for 45 days. 

    “Consumption of alcohol is known to affect the immune response. This has been seen in other vaccines…,” Sudarshan said.

    According to Sudarshan, consuming alcohol will inhibit the function of the liver, and especially in people who have been vaccinated, cause the immune system to be compromised, thereby rendering the vaccine ineffective.

    Dubawa spoke to officials at the Food And Drugs Authority (FDA) in Ghana who indicated that it is recommended that individuals who take the Covid-19 vaccines abstain from taking alcohol.

    “When you are about to take the vaccine, we advise that you suspend alcohol intake. Alcohol has a potential to interrupt the vaccine’s performance and so we advise that you avoid it two days before and two days after.”

    We again spoke to Mr Jacob Andoh, Public Relations Officer at Ghana Health Service (GHS), who when asked whether people should avoid alcohol up to 45 days after the Covid-19 vaccine is administered, referred to experts’ advice.

    “According to our experts, it’s not true,” Andoh said.

    Dubawa also found that the institutions at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic and release of vaccine related information, World Health Organisation (WHO),The Food And Drugs Administration (FDA) and The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not released any guidelines pertaining to the consumption of alcohol after the Covid-19 vaccine administration nor warned against alcohol intake after vaccination.

    Various online news outlets have also investigated the claim and have arrived at varied positions.  

    TheTime of India outlines in its checks pertaining to the claim that “alcohol has not been scientifically proven to be bad for vaccination” and therefore, it can not be said to render Covid-19 vaccines ineffective.

    Times Now News also concluded that there is no evidence of association between alcohol intake and the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine. However, the report cautions that alcohol intake is injurious to health and it is especially not advised for people who demonstrate side effects like fatigue, pains in the arm, and fever after being vaccinated.

    Other publications have also warned that excessive  alcohol consumption can mask the side effects of the vaccine and should therefore be controlled or taken in moderation.

    Studies like Klaus W, Lange and Yukiko Nakamura’s 2020 study titled, Movement and Nutrition in Covid-19, suggests that “…lifestyle-related factors, such as reducing smoking rates and limiting alcohol intake, are also important in decreasing disruptive effects on immune functioning and improving ability to overcome infection.”

    Additionally, we were unable to identify any clinical tests or research that suggest this although there is scientific evidence that excessive alcohol consumption can be dangerous, affect the immune system, and is not recommended for general health reasons.

    Conclusion

    From our findings, there is no recommendation from health experts including the WHO for people to avoid alcohol 45 days post-vaccination. However, some authorities advise that people avoid alcohol two days before the vaccine and two days after. 

  • WHO Response Alliance launches Viral Fact to counter COVID-19 misinformation

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa Infodemic Response Alliance (AIRA) officially launches its social media arm known as Viral Facts Africa. 

    Viral Facts Africa was launched at a workshop on health communications for leading African influencers from business, sports, the arts and the media hosted by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the African Union, the Rockefeller Foundation, Access Challenge and WHO. 

    Amid the growing spread of COVID-19 and related misinformation in the African continent, the Africa Infodemic Response Alliance (AIRA) initiative was born to combat misinformation related to the pandemic.

    This alliance launched in December 2020 with 12 organisations, brings together the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red crescent (IFRC), UNICEF, UNESCO, UN Verified, UN Global Pulse, WHO and the fact checking organisations Africa Check, PesaCheck, Agence France Presse Fact Check, Dubawa and Meedan.

    Today, the Alliance has grown to include 14 organisations with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Ghana Fact joining the fold.

    VIral Facts Africa is a WHO-hosted network that is part of the Africa Infodemic Response Alliance (AIRA), to coordinate actions and pool resources to combat misinformation and fill information gaps around the COVID-19 pandemic and other health emergencies in Africa.

    “False claims can spread faster than COVID-19 itself, often because they are simple, visual and tap into our emotions. Viral Facts Africa aims to debunk myths right where they spread, fast, and to help people sort life-saving facts from noise. Together, we can stop viral rumours by sharing viral facts,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, was quoted as saying in the press release.

    Viral Facts creates scientific fact-based information, fact-checks, debunks and misinformation literacy content that are highly visual, engaging, and shareable across social platforms.

    “COVID-19 is not over, and as vaccines are rolled out across Africa, mask wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing are still key to saving lives. We need a whole-of-society push to keep these messages fresh in people’s minds and everyone has a role to play as viral health misinformation costs lives,” said Dr Moeti.

    To achieve this, Viral fact works with communities to co-design and disseminate it’s contents on different social media platforms.

    Follow Viral Facts Africa on Facebook @http://facebook.com/viralfacts, on Twitter @http://twitter.com/viralfacts, and on Instagram @http://instagram.com/viralfactsafro.

Back to top button