Fact Check-Fake news article says New Zealand planning to put COVID vaccines in the water supply

Social media users have been sharing a fake article that wrongly says New Zealand’s government is planning to introduce COVID-19 vaccinations into the water supply.

The false text has been mocked up to look like it was published by the New Zealand Herald. No such article or social media post was published by the outlet.

The headline of the fake image reads: “Leaked emails expose Governments [sic] ‘underhanded’ vaccine plan.”

The falsified screenshot shows the headline along with a caption that reads: “The emails between Government officials and multiple local councils appear to discuss the possibility of introducing the covid vaccine into city water supplies in areas where the vaccination rates haven’t reached 90%. Prime minister Jac...”

One user shared the screenshot on Twitter and said: “Is this a joke?” (here).

Another said: “if people don't cut the head of the snake they'll be adding mRNA to the tap water... and then the food...” (here).

One person who shared the screenshot on Instagram wrote: “This is actually criminal!!!”

Other examples of the fake image online can be seen (here), (here), (here) and (here).

The New Zealand Herald confirmed that it did not publish the report. “No such post - or story - was ever produced by the NZ Herald,” Shayne Currie, Managing Editor of the NZ Herald, told Reuters.

Reuters has not been able to find the story in any other outlets.

Reuters previously addressed digitally altered headlines shared online (here), (here), (here).


Altered. The NZ Herald did not publish an article reporting on a government plan to introduce the COVID-19 vaccine into water supplies. An image circulating on social media is false and digitally altered.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .