10 myths about coronavirus vaccines


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The manufacture and distribution of coronavirus vaccines have inspired many conspiracy theories against vaccines around the world.

Vaccines are not new. In fact, the WHO estimates that at least 10 million deaths were prevented between 2010 and 2015 thanks to vaccinations delivered around the world.

In this report, ZimFact busts some of the most common myths and misinformation around vaccines that have been popular on social media. Our report is compiled using information from credible sources, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care, the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA, and the Africa CDC.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine is not safe because it was developed too quickly

Fact: The global emergency resulted in pharmaceutical companies and governments investing significantly into developing vaccines. However, this doesn’t mean that safety steps were skipped. Vaccines were still put through tests. For example, one of the manufacturers, Pfizer/BioNTecH, studied its vaccines in approximately 43 000 people. According to the CDC, a manufacturer is authorised only after following at least half of the study participants for at least two months after completing the vaccination series. The vaccine must be proven safe and effective in that population.

In addition, scientists were not starting from scratch. Although SARS-CoV-2 – the new coronavirus – was new, scientists have already been studying other coronaviruses for many years.

Technology has also advanced, allowing for quicker development.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine includes a microchip to monitor the masses

Fact: There is no microchip in the vaccine.

Conspiracy theories around the microchip largely focus on Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist who is a target of the anti-vaccination lobby.

Gates’ comments, during the COVID-19 pandemic’s early days, that people and businesses might need to have digital certificates “to show who has recovered or been tested recently or, when we have a vaccine, who has received it,” have been manipulated to feed the false narrative.

Gates’ remarks have been twisted and packaged into several social media posts and videos with a common theme – “Bill Gates wants to use a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 to implant microchips in people that would be used to track people with a digital ID.”

This is simply not true.

Firstly, no microchip can fit in a vaccine needle. Secondly, if anyone wanted to track people, they wouldn’t need to inject a microchip into people. They can already do that using your smartphone.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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