A video that features different speakers discussing the development of a COVID-19 vaccine features a number of misleading claims. These include the suggestion that young people are at “absolutely no risk” from COVID-19, that a change in the season will end cases of the disease and that Ivermectin is a known effective treatment that is being ignored.
The video also features a speaker who omits significant information when describing trials of COVID-19 vaccines and another inaccurately suggesting that COVID-19 vaccination will be the first time that a group unaffected by a disease is vaccinated to protect the wider society (here).
Young people and public health
Throughout the video, one speaker makes the claim that young people, described as people under 24 years of age, are at no risk from COVID-19 (Timestamps 8.55, 33.06, 35.19, 59.14) and also says that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is the first time in human history that people are being vaccinated who are not at direct risk from a disease (Timestamps 8.55, 31.07, 35.54).
While the Central Statistics Office in Ireland has not recorded any deaths of people under 25 in due to COVID-19 (see table 1 here: here), and this age group is much less l likely to become seriously ill than older people, an epidemiology report released the same day that the Facebook video was broadcast showed that, in the prior two weeks, 113 people under 24 years of age were hospitalised with COVID-19 and three were admitted to ICUs (here).
Meanwhile, young people may also experience so-called “long COVID” (here), with case studies indicating that children may experience similar long‐term effects to adults after contracting COVID‐19 (here).
The National Institute for Health Research in the United Kingdom warns: “We have heard powerful stories that ongoing Covid19 symptoms are experienced by all age groups, from the youngest children to the oldest people" (here).
The argument that vaccines are not given to healthy people in order to stop the spread of diseases in other people is contradicted by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre of Ireland, which says that the Rubella vaccine was introduced to boys to “protect pregnant women against rubella” which was circulating in the community (pages 7 and 9 and the explanation of Graph 3 on page 5 here: (here).
Later in the video, a speaker gives the following description of COVID-19 vaccine trials (53.12): “You get the likes of the chairman coming out and saying they’re 90% effective. What do you mean by effective? A thousand people on a placebo, a thousand people the actual vaccine, and it’s 90% effective on all 2,000? No, it’s not going to be talking about that. Because not everyone is going to get Covid out of that. You’re going to get a minority of people. Now, what are we actually talking about? Are we talking about people getting the flu, are we talking about people getting symptoms, are we talking about people developing antibodies?”
The speaker appears to be referring to the announcement by Pfizer’s chairman in November 2020 that the company’s vaccine was at least 90% effective (here). That paper describing the Pfizer trial, which has been available since in early December, says that 43,448 participants received injections; 21,720 with the vaccine and 21,728 with the placebo (here). Participants were counted as having COVID-19 if they had significant symptoms as well as a positive lab test. There were 8 cases of COVID-19 recorded among people who had taken the vaccine, compared with 162 cases among those assigned the placebo. In other words, people who received the vaccine became sick with COVID-19 at about 5% the rate of that which people who received the placebo did, which is why the vaccine was considered to be about 95% effective.
Later in the video, an anonymous person who describes herself as a nurse, says (51.30): “Ivermectin, especially, has been known to cut the Covid mortality rate by 80%.” The host responds: “And it’s being ignored.”
Ivermectin is a drug used to treat parasitic worms (here). While some lab tests indicated that it inhibits COVID-19 in artificial environments (here), these were contradicted by human trials (here and here).
The 80% reduction in mortality rates cited in the video appears to be a reference to an unpublished study that was outlined in a YouTube video (here). While there are theoretical reasons (here) to believe that Ivermectin may treat Covid-19, and there have been some promising results (here and here), these papers advise that more studies are needed before it can be recommended as a treatment, or are based on incomplete trials (here).
There are more ongoing trials that might prove or disprove the efficacy of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 (here here here here here) Ivermectin is not being “ignored”; proof that it is effective as a treatment for COVID-19 has not been published.
After the discussion on Ivermectin, the host says (52.05): “What bewilders me is that: every January without fail, the newspaper headlines are about the crisis in our hospitals, and I’m sure it’s the same up North, and every year it fades away because that’s what viruses do.They come and they go. So, I just don’t understand why there’s such a rush to get us all vaccinated up when this will all be gone in about three weeks’ time, or — sorry — let’s say six weeks’ time, let’s be pessimistic.”
The World Health Organisation told Reuters by email: “The virus that causes COVID -19, SARS CoV-2 is not showing a seasonal transmission pattern. To further look into that, please check our WHO dashboard to see daily and weekly cases in each country (covid19.who.int).”
The United Kingdom recorded thousands of new COVID-19 cases a day from March to May (here), while the Republic of Ireland saw surges in cases in both March and October (here). Both are currently seeing surges in COVID-19 cases. There is no evidence to suggest that transmission of the virus will cease without intervention.
Partly false. Young people are unlikely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 but some in this age group have required hospital treatment. Vaccine trials involved thousands of participants and COVID-19 cases among volunteers were carefully defined. Ivermectin is not being “ignored”; there is no evidence that COVID-19 cases will simply vanish with a change of season.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
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