JOEL ÇELA

The world continues to face the danger brought upon by the pandemic despite the fact that the vaccination process has begun since December 2020. Even though the vaccines are available, the main problem is people’s refusal to get vaccinated, which has led to protests in various countries of the world. In almost the entire world, the vaccination process has stopped at 60% of the population due to disbelief, even among health professionals. Faktoje selected some of the false information on the vaccines, which have been certified as myths by the American company Newsguard, that has partnered with WHO to fact-check the authenticity of the information on COVID-19 and the vaccines.

Three weeks ago, NY Times reported that general vaccination in the country was stuck at less than 60%. Even though according to the American Medical Association 96% of doctors are fully vaccinated, health professionals in rural areas in particular have posed greater resistance to getting vaccinated, despite the fact that thousands of health professionals have died because of the virus and many more have become ill.

Our World in Data’s report from the previous day shows that general vaccination in the United States remains at the same levels with only 50.5% of the population fully vaccinated. With the exception of Spain (60.2%), none of the countries published on the main table of data does not exceed vaccination of 60% of its vaccinable population.

Data from Our World in Data, published on August 7, 2021

Russia is facing one of the most critical situations, reporting over 25 thousand new daily infections and approximately 800 deaths in 24 hours. At the time being, only 18.7% of the vaccinable population in Russia has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Even though the country is the manufacturer of the Sputnik V vaccine, which has been widely available to the public since December, most people have rejected it.

This follows a survey carried out by IPSOS in April 2021, which lists Russia and America as the two countries with the highest percentage of people who would refuse the vaccine if provided with it, respectively 59% and 54%.

IPSOS survey, published on April 2021

As we have previously written, hesitation in getting the vaccine is closely related to misinformation. Countries with the highest percentage of vaccine refusal are also among the countries with the highest number of websites which spread misleading news regarding the vaccination process.

Protest against vaccination in America

Vaccination resistance in particular is becoming a wide-spread phenomenon, alongside new infection figures. Vaccination resistance is happening in many countries of the world, not only in America, where protests have been organized for countries such as France, Italy and Greece.

Protest against vaccination in France

DW writes that whereas the experts warn about the risk of the “pandemic of the unvaccinated”, the matter is also sparking a moral and legal debate regarding human rights, which doesn’t seem to be ending soon.

Protest against vaccination in Italy

Misinformation and vaccine resistance is also present in Albania

On August 7, we published an article where we highlighted the fact that vaccination rates have gone down drastically compared to a few months prior. Lack of trust in the vaccine stands out among the reasons listed by the citizens as to why the decrease in vaccination rates.

Misleading news regarding the vaccine have been circulating widely in our country, with Mr. Alfread Cako being the symbol of these news and spreading “alternative” theories regarding COVID-19 and the vaccine.

We selected 3 of the theories he has repeated continuously, not only because they have frequently been published at global level, but also because they have met the approval of many citizens, according to the comments on his YouTube videos.

Comments on Cako’s YouTube video

  1. The vaccine will change your DNA

In March this year, during a show on “Top Channel“, Mr. Cako claimed that the vaccine would change his DNA:

“How can I accept to change the blood of my ancestors?”

Newsguard categorized the claim that the vaccine changes DNA as false. Some candidate vaccines against COVID-19 rely on Ribonucleic acid (mRNA), which contains the required genetic information to generate proteins according to The National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Dan Culver, a pulmonologist at the Clinic of Cleveland stated for Associated Press in September 2020 that mRNA vaccines can’t cause genetic changes.

  1. A microchip will be injected with the vaccine

During the same show on “Top Channel“, Mr. Cako also claimed to have been communicating with people on whom had been conducted vaccine experiments and who have been inserted the microchip.

“I have been told that: We were taken forcibly, we were put in hospitals. This happened abroad, not here in Albania. They used nanotechnology to insert microchips through the vaccines.” – he said.

Newsguard writes that there is no vaccine, against COVID-19 or other viruses that contains microchips or other tracking features. In December 2019, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) researchers who had received funds by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, published a scientific article regarding a technology they had developed to retain data on the vaccination on the patient’s skin with a “paint” injection readable by smartphones.

Kevin McHugh, a bioengineering professor at Rice University who has worked on the research at MIT states for FactCheck.org that this technology does not have the capacity to track the patients’ movements.

Newsguard explains that Gates stated that “digital certificates” can be used as part of a bigger vaccination effort, but there is no data of him or his foundation developing tracking technology for people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

  1. Vaccinated people will be sterilized

Speaking for “Top Channel” in December 2020, Mr. Cako states the vaccine aims to sterilize most of the people of the ages 5 to 55 years old.

“The aim is to sterilize people of the ages 5 to 55, most of which will receive the vaccine.” – he said.

Newsguard points out that this claim was first made by British YouTuber Zed Phoenix, who stated that an anonymous source from the GalxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals told him that 61 out of the 63 women on whom the vaccine was tested became sterile. At the same time, a specific vaccine for men results in “reduction of testicular size, decreased testosterone levels and prostate atrophy”

Reuters notifies that these statements were taken from a research from 1989 by the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi, India, which is not related to COVID-19.  This research examined the use of fertility vaccines in baboons in an attempt to find alternatives to treat cancer patients in the future. None of the COVID-19 vaccines are specifically gender-based or related to fertility in any way.

Even though such claims have been addressed and categorized as false by experts, many people on social networks believe them.

Comments on Cako’s YouTube video