On January 29, Facebook user Koba Kuprashvili posted a video, where he speaks about David Gareji, COVID-19 and the coronavirus vaccines. Kuprashvili claims that COVID-19 deaths increased in Gibraltar after it received COVID-19 vaccines. He also notes that the coronavirus vaccine is a lie, an experimental injection that is genetically modified and poses a threat.
Kuprashvili also claimed that the World Health Organization has changed the definitions of herd immunity, pandemic and vaccination, whereas COVID-19 death rate, according to him, is fluctuating within 0.2%-0.3%. Kuprashvili recollects Swedish example, claiming that Sweden achieved herd immunity without vaccination.
In addition, Kuprashvili stigmatizes vaccinated people calling them virus incubators and zombie army and saying that if we were hiding from viruses in 2020 and vaccines in 2021, we will be hiding from vaccinated people in 2022.
Koba Kuprashvili’s video contains false information and manipulations, because: 1. Increased COVID-19 deaths in Gibraltar are not related to vaccines; 2. mRNA vaccines are new, but researchers have been studying the technology for decades; 3. The definition of a pandemic has not been changed, while the definitions of vaccines and herd immunity have been updated on the WHO website; 4. Coronavirus death rate is 3% globally, not 0.2%-0.3%; 5. Sweden has not achieved herd immunity.
Increased COVID-19 deaths in Gibraltar are not related to vaccines
Fullfact.org has also verified the information. Gibraltar started vaccination on January 10. As of 27 January, 54 people have died of COVID-19, including six after receiving the vaccine, but there is no evidence these deaths were related to the vaccine.
The Government of Gibraltar released a statement regarding the issue, noting that as of January 26, 2021, 11,073 persons had received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Gibraltar. It also said that six persons died after receiving the vaccine, but there is no link between the fatalities and the vaccine. The Gibraltar Health Authority clarified that these six persons appeared to have contracted COVID-19 before they were vaccinated but, despite testing for COVID-19 before vaccination, the infection had not been detected in them at the time they were vaccinated. All of those persons were in the age range 70 to 100. All, but one, were residents of the Government of Gibraltar Elderly Residential Services facilities.
95% of all those over 70 contacted for vaccination in Gibraltar have already had the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and agreed to receive the second dose.
mRNA vaccines are new, but researchers have been studying the technology for decades
The video provides a manipulative explanation about a RNA-based vaccine claiming that such a vaccine is experimental and it cannot even be called a vaccine, because it has not been created using a traditional method.
mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into human bodies. Instead, mRNA vaccines teach human cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside human bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials. This means the process can be standardized and scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods of making vaccines.
mRNA vaccines have been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). For example, in 2017, German company CureVac published the results of phase 1 clinical trials of mRNa rabies vaccine in a medical journal Lancet. Later in 2019, the results of phase 1 clinical trials of mRNA vaccines against two influenza viruses were published.
Future mRNA vaccine technology may allow for one vaccine to provide protection for multiple diseases, thus decreasing the number of shots needed for protection against common vaccine-preventable diseases. Beyond vaccines, cancer research has used mRNA to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells.
Additional information about RNA-based vaccines is provided in the following articles prepared by Myth Detector:
- RNA or DNA-Based Vaccine?
- Side effects from Pfizer and Moderna are rare, while RNA technology is safe
The definition of a pandemic has not been changed, while the definitions of vaccines and herd immunity have been updated on the WHO website
The definition of a pandemic has not been changed on the website of the World Health Organization. The information about pandemic published on the WHO website is dated February 24, 2010. It notes that a pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease. For example, an influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads around the world, and most people do not have immunity.
In 2020, the WHO really made changes to its definition of herd immunity. The June version had a one-paragraph definition for herd immunity that said it is the “indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.”
Presently, we see the same definition on the WHO website; however, in response to the opinions related to herd immunity, the WHO notes that it supports achieving ‘herd immunity’ through vaccination, not by allowing a disease to spread through any segment of the population, as this would result in unnecessary cases and deaths.
As for the definition about vaccination, it was published on December 31, 2020 and defines vaccination as follows:
“Vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases, before they come into contact with them. It uses your body’s natural defenses to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger. Vaccines train your immune system to create antibodies, just as it does when it’s exposed to a disease. However, because vaccines contain only killed or weakened forms of germs like viruses or bacteria, they do not cause the disease or put you at risk of its complications.”
Coronavirus death rate is 3% globally
The video claims that COVID-19 death rate is 0.2-03%; however, as of February 2, 2021, about 104 million COVID-19 cases were confirmed including 25 million active cases and 78 million closed cases (recovered/deaths). Deaths exceed 2.26 million people that is 3% of closed cases.
It is not so easy to calculate fatality ratios and figures may differ by countries and age groups. According to the WHO, there are widely variable estimates of case fatality rates by country – from less than 0.1% to over 25%. Thus, there are no universal figures. Since the COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing pandemic, figures are constantly changing. However, as already mentioned above, coronavirus death rate is 3% globally.
Sweden has not achieved herd immunity
It was reported in late 2020 that Sweden has allegedly achieved herd immunity that is not true. In addition, death rate is higher in Sweden than in neighboring Finland, Norway and Denmark.
As of February 2, 2021, there were 566,957 infections and 11,591 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country. Sweden has 10.2 million inhabitants.
A study published in the Lancet medical journal on November 4 estimates the level of herd immunity required to block SARS-CoV-2 transmission to be about 60 to 72%. However, only 5.5% of Swedish population has had COVID-19 so far.
Even if we suppose that official COVID-19 cases do not contain all cases of infections, Sweden is unlikely to have reached the level needed for herd immunity.
Anders Tegnell, the country’s top epidemiologist, said in a Stockholm briefing on November 24 that “we see no signs of immunity in the population that are slowing down the infection right now.”
It is noteworthy that the possibility of reinfection with COVID-19 casts doubt on the issue of achieving herd immunity.
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