A post making absurd claims about COVID-19 vaccine is being shared on social media. The post lists out categories of people who should not get the vaccination dose and the reason behind it.
The post alleges that unmarried girls should not get the vaccination as it affects their fertility. It also claims that children and people with respiratory diseases should be kept away from the vaccine. Also, according to the viral post, consumers of alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco, patients with mental and neurological problems and diabetic patients should not get vaccinated.
“(1) अविवाहित युवतियाँ टीके से दूर रहें, (विवाह बाद संतानहीनता)
(2) बच्चों को इससे दूर रखें, (भविष्य में अनेक बीमारियाँ संभव)
(3) जिन्हें कभी निमोनिया, अस्थमा, या ब्रोंकाईटीज जैसे श्वसन तंत्र सम्बन्धी बीमारियाँ थीं, (साइड इफ़ेक्ट में मौत संभव)
(4) शराब, सिगरेट, तम्बाकू का सेवन करने वाले, (कैंसर की संभावना)
(5) मानसिक व न्यूरल समस्याओं के मरीज, (बीमारी बढ़ सकती है)
(6) डायबिटीज के मरीज भूल कर भी न लगवाएं. (हल्के साइड इफ़ेक्ट में भी मौत संभव)” are the main claims made in the viral post.
NewsMobile fact-checked the post and found it to be misleading. We checked each claim individually and found the following:
Claim 1: Unmarried women should not get vaccinated as it may impact fertility
We found that manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines Covishield and Covaxin, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech respectively, have released fact sheets on who should not be taking the jabs. The sheet mentions that pregnant or breastfeeding women should not get the vaccine as the effect of the vaccine has not been studied in pregnant women and nursing mothers. However, nowhere in the sheet does it mention that the vaccine affects fertility.
We also found a report by The New Indian Express published in February 2021, stating that according to the doctors, COVID-19 vaccine does not harm fertility in women.
Speaking to ANI, VG Somani, Drug Controller General of India said, “We’ll never approve anything if there’s slightest of safety concern. Vaccines are 110 % safe. Some side effects like mild fever, pain & allergy are common for every vaccine. It (that people may get impotent) is absolute rubbish.”
#WATCH I We’ll never approve anything if there’s slightest of safety concern. Vaccines are 110 % safe. Some side effects like mild fever, pain & allergy are common for every vaccine. It (that people may get impotent) is absolute rubbish: VG Somani,Drug Controller General of India pic.twitter.com/ZSQ8hU8gvw
— ANI (@ANI) January 3, 2021
Meanwhile, according to a Hindustan Times report dated May 22, 2021, the “Centre on Saturday said that there should be no disruption in breastfeeding because of the vaccine. The Centre has recently allowed lactating mothers to take Covid-19 vaccines”.
Hence, this proves that the above claim is false and misleading.
Claim 2: Children should be kept away from the vaccine as it may cause diseases in future
Till now, MoHFW has allowed vaccine only for people above 18 years of age. However, according to a report by Hindustan Times dated May 19, 2021, clinical trials for Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, in children between the age group of 2 to 18 years will begin in the next 10-12 days.
Talking to NDTV, Dr Sanjeev Sinha, Professor for Medicine at AIIMS said, “DCGI has given permission to conduct trials for children in the age group of 2 years to 18 years, and they have divided 3 groups like 12-18 yrs, 6-12 yrs, and 6 months to 6 years. So, they are now starting trials between 12-18 yrs of age and this is a very important trial and they are going to start this trial in three sites, one is AIIMS New Delhi, AIIMS Patna, and AIIMS Nagpur. Then, they will do phase 2 and phase 3 trials to see the safety, immunogenicity, side effects, and efficacy.”
Hence, from the above information, it is clear that clinical trials for children are yet to begin and the claim stating that vaccine may cause diseases in children is misleading.
Claim 3: Those with respiratory problems or illnesses should not be vaccinated. This can also lead to death
The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare does not prevent patients with respiratory tract diseases from taking the vaccine. Moreover, the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech also do not mention anything with regard to this.
We also found a report from the British Lung Foundation. Though the report is talking about UK based vaccines like Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna, it states that the vaccine is safe for respiratory tract diseases.
Hence, we can say that the post in circulation is false and misleading.
Claim 4: People consuming alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco should not get the vaccine. This can cause cancer
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said that as per experts, there is no evidence of alcohol impairing the effectiveness of the vaccine.
However, experts in Russia and Britain say that alcohol should be avoided before and after taking the vaccine. It doesn’t say anything about them not getting the vaccine.
Moreover, we also found that smokers are being given preference for vaccination in the US because they are at greater risk of getting infected with the coronavirus.
Hence, the point about people consuming alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco should not get the vaccine is false.
Claim 5: Patients with mental problems should not get vaccinated as this may increase their problem
In September 2020, the clinical trials of Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine had to stop because a patient showed neurological symptoms during the study. But, so far, no such cases have been reported in India.
We also found a report by The New Indian Express from January 2021, with the headline, “Psychiatric patients can take both Covishield and Covaxin vaccines: Experts.”
“As such there is no evidence that the COVID vaccine can harm long-term psychiatric patients. These patients are, in fact, more vulnerable to COVID-19 owing to their behavioural issues,” The New Indian Express quoted Dr H Chandrashekar, medical adviser, Karnataka State Mental Health Authority, and Professor and HOD of Psychiatry, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute as saying.
Also, Covishield and Covaxin fact sheets state that people must declare to the vaccinators if they have long-term medications or illnesses. It is also advisable to consult your doctor before taking the vaccine if one is suffering from a serious illness.
Claim 6: Diabetes patients should not get vaccinated
The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health And Family Welfare for Phase 1 of COVID-19 vaccination in India includes people under 50 years with associated co-morbidities such as hypertension/diabetes/HIV/cancer/cardiovascular disease as they are at a higher risk of getting infected.
Hence, this proves that the above claim is false.
Moreover, the government’s nodal agency, Press Information Bureau, in a tweet clarified that the viral claims are false and misleading.
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