Correction August 24, 2020: An earlier version of this check included dysfunctional links in paragraphs 9 and 10. This correction replaces them with functioning links. Mention of 167 possible vaccines and of 29 undergoing clinical trials in paragraph 9 has been replaced with a link to the WHO’s website where a pdf is available for download, as this number is likely to continue being updated.
A video being shared on social media makes the false claim that a vaccine for COVID-19 has already been made and consists of chemicals that promote infertility.
The 10-minute clip, shared thousands of times on social media ( here here , here ), features a monologue from a man called Zed Phoenix, who uploads videos to YouTube in which he comments about vaccines ( here ).
In this footage, Phoenix informs viewers that an “insider” at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has told him a vaccine for COVID-19 has already been manufactured and that it contains chemicals that will eventually cause “an explosion of infertility” ( here ) in the United Kingdom.
“We’re one foot in this and one foot out. But I’m going to go through this, I’m going to present it, as the truth - because I believe it is,” he says.
Reading from a collection of documents, Phoenix claims the chemicals being used include an anti-hCG antigen and 37 amino acid carboxy terminal peptides - known as CTP - for a female-specific virus vaccine. He then alleges 63 women have been tested with “this concoction of chemicals”, leaving 61 of them infertile.
“They believe that’s what is in the vaccine,” he adds.
According to Phoenix’s “insider”, a male-specific COVID-19 vaccine has also been developed using GnRH, and “results in decreased testicular size…drop of testosterone levels, and marked atrophy of the prostate.” This, he alleges, leads to the death of DNA inside sperm – and, therefore, results in fertility problems.
There are many other claims in the video which remain outside the scope of this check. The claims mentioned here, however, are inaccurate.
Firstly, it is false to say a COVID-19 vaccine has already been made. Possible vaccines and those undergoing clinical trials are being monitored by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and listed in a pdf that can be downloaded here . None of them have yet been approved for use. Russia approved its own vaccine earlier this week but this has not undergone clinical trials and is unlikely to be used in the UK before it passes such a stage ( here ).
It is also false to say there are different gender-specific COVID-19 vaccines. Again, looking at human trials tracked by WHO in the most advanced testing stages, ie: phase III, none of these potential vaccines differentiate between male and female test subjects (pdf here ). Despite this, there are recommendations for further research on this topic ( here ).
The claims about infertility chemicals are highly misleading, and appear to have been taken from decades-old studies on completely unrelated topics. In fact, Phoenix appears to directly quote a study published in 1989 about specific anti-fertility vaccines in New Delhi, India ( here ). The study was looking into the potential use of the vaccine in treating some cancer patients ( here ).
Speaking to Reuters, Dr Jason Kindrachuk, an assistant professor and Canada research chair from the Department of Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases at the University of Manitoba, said this application was an “important caveat” as the study quoted was looking at reducing cancer growth in patients whose cancers were affected by such hormones.
He added: “There is no logic to the use of anti-hCG or -GnRH vaccine formulations to reduce COVID-19 transmission and there has been no identification of hormone-related health issues reported from the ongoing COVID vaccine clinical trials.”
In the video, parts of Phoenix’s discussion about anti-hCG and GnRH are verbatim to the report (here). For instance, it mentions anti-hCG antibodies being produced in 61 of 63 women who were subject to the trial. This can be compared to Phoenix saying in the video that 61 of 63 women tested were rendered infertile.
It would also be misleading to suggest GSK is developing its own vaccine for COVID-19. The pharmaceutical company has widely documented its approach, which is to offer its adjuvant technology to partner researchers who are in the process of developing a vaccine. This adjuvant technology is additional to a vaccine by strengthening immune response to a virus, and can ultimately mean more doses can be manufactured for wider use ( here ).
False. There is no COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved for widespread use. The discussion about an adverse impact on fertility appears to refer directly to a 1989 study into anti-fertility vaccines that is totally unrelated to COVID-19 trials.
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