Covid-19 conspiracies are flooding the internet since the pandemic became widespread in early 2020. AFP Factuel put together a list of popular Covid-19 myths that they fact-checked. Here is our selection:

  1. Masks are not making children sick. 

The opposite was claimed in a Facebook post that has been shared thousands of times, however, the information is coming from a German “study” that does not have any scientific significance. The study is still in its pre-publication stages, meaning it has not been peer reviewed. It lists a series of symptoms that masks give to children: for example, headaches, depression, and learning disorders. The study was carried out by an anti-mask parent group who, also wrongly stated that children cannot act as carriers, reservoirs, or transmitters of Covid-19. https://factuel.afp.com/le-masque-lorigine-de-troubles-chez-les-enfants-trop-tot-pour-laffirmer-0

2. The vaccine is not linked to the January increase in deaths in Gibraltar. 

Multiple articles, shared thousands of times have made these claims, but no residents died due to a negative reaction to the Covid-19 vaccine. The Chief Minister of Gibraltar himself released a statement stating that any patients who contracted Covid-19 and died following the vaccine had it beforehand. https://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/press-releases/chief-ministers-script-covid-19-press-conference-1302021-6677

3. Do not believe all of the misinterpretations of WHO recommendations. 

Social media based publications have published fake news stories claiming that WHO reported that PCR tests generate mass false positive results. In reality, WHO stated that a false positive was possible, but unlikely. Additionally, they said this does not call into question the validity of PCRs and does not recommend that they stop being used.https://factuel.afp.com/tests-pcr-attention-des-mauvaises-interpretations-de-recommandations-de-loms

4. Covid-19 vaccines do not cause infertility. 

A French doctor, Louis Fouché, made the claim that Covid-19 vaccine can cause infertility in an interview broadcast by Nexus magazine, a magazine that largely publishes pseudoscience stories. AFP asked several scientists to confirm this statement and they responded that this is there is no evidence this is true. Additionally, the scientists said that it is probably impossible for the Covid-19 vaccine to affect fertility. https://factuel.afp.com/les-vaccins-arn-messager-nentrainent-pas-dinfertilite-expliquent-les-experts

5. Australia did not end vaccine trials because it was transmitting HIV. 

Multiple popular Facebook posts made the claim that the Covid-19 vaccine was infecting people with HIV. In reality, the Australian government announced that it stopped vaccine trials in because of false HIV positive results. The vaccine Australia was producing actually showed evidence it could counter Covid-19, but they knew that the false positive results for HIV would undermine public confidence.https://factuel.afp.com/non-laustralie-na-pas-mis-fin-la-vaccination-contre-le-covid-19-pour-infection-au-vih

6. China is not sending Covid-19 test results with pre-determined positive and negative results to the United States.

A picture has begun to be disseminated around the internet that people claim shows that China is sending other the US Covid-19 test results that have already been marked positive and negative tests. In truth, looking more closely at the photo you will see that the test results are labeled “control positive” and “control negative.” This means that they are provided, so that the tests can be compared to both a negative and positive result after the are administered to the patient. https://factuel.afp.com/des-tests-covid-deja-positifs-en-provenance-de-chine-il-sagit-decouvillons-de-controle

7. The Pfizer vaccine is not causing people to have facial paralysis or lymph node swelling. 

A Facebook post claimed that the Pfizer vaccine caused 4.6 percent of the people who took the vaccine to develop facial paralysis and lymph node issues. However, out of the 18,000 people who took the 0.022 percent of people developed facial paralysis and 0.3 percent had lymph node swelling. These numbers are so low that it cannot even be determined that the symptoms are due to the vaccine. https://factuel.afp.com/covid-19tests-du-vaccin-pfizer-non-il-ny-pas-eu-46-de-paralysies-faciales-et-datteintes

8. The AstraZeneca vaccine does not contain foetal cells

A video was posted on Facebook that has been shared hundreds of thousands of times made the claim that AstraZeneca vaccine has foetal cells in it. The technology used to develop the vaccine way back in the 1970s did use cells form aborted foetuses. However, the vaccine does not contain any foetal cells. https://factuel.afp.com/non-le-vaccin-astrazeneca-ne-contient-pas-de-cellules-foetales