The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine: What is it and how has it been developed so quickly?

The Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK from the week commencing 6 December 2020. This means that the UK has become the first country in the world to approve the vaccine for widespread use. MHRA, the British regulator, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe for distribution. Continue reading The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine: What is it and how has it been developed so quickly?

Pregnancies and abortion in Northern Ireland

In 2019, available figures estimate that 4.4% of pregnancies of Northern Ireland residents ended in abortion. This compares to an estimated 24% of pregnancies in England and Wales in 2018 ending in abortion. Globally, an estimated average of 29% of pregnancies from 2015–2019 ended in abortion. This explainer article examines the accuracy and completeness of these figures, particularly for Northern Ireland. Continue reading Pregnancies and abortion in Northern Ireland

Overcoming closed borders: opening up fact-checking solutions

Overcoming closed borders: opening up fact-checking solutions
Interview with Giovanni ZAGNI (Director, Pagella Politica)
by Allan LEONARD
24 November 2020

“I haven’t seen some of my colleagues in six months,” remarked Giovanni Zagni, director of Pagella Politica, based in Milan. Conducting this interview via Zoom was a salutary reminder of unprecedented times in which we are living — never before have so many people globally have had to attempt to conduct their work, commerce, research, and collaboration remotely. Fact checkers may be more accustomed to applying their digital skills from anywhere — online access permitting — but remote camaraderie is a new phenomenon. Continue reading Overcoming closed borders: opening up fact-checking solutions

Is there a greater chance of dying by being hit by a bus than by COVID-19?

CLAIM: There is a greater chance of dying in a bus collision than by COVID-19.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The probability of a randomly selected resident of Great Britain dying from January to October 2020, with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate, was over 3,000 times higher than the average probability of dying as a pedestrian in an accident involving a bus or a coach in the same period. Continue reading Is there a greater chance of dying by being hit by a bus than by COVID-19?

Is the PSNI rolling out a Snapchat scheme to monitor social mitigation compliance?

CLAIM: The PSNI are to pilot a Snapchat social media platform initiative to monitor social mitigation compliance in Northern Ireland.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The PSNI have no plans to introduce any monitoring scheme on any social media platform. Complaints about social mitigation compliance can be registered on the PSNI website. Continue reading Is the PSNI rolling out a Snapchat scheme to monitor social mitigation compliance?

Are Northern Ireland retailers covering up non-essential items from sale?

CLAIM: Social media posts are circulating showing supermarket shelves that have been covered over or taped off to prevent customers purchasing certain items. Reference is made to this happening in Belfast and Northern Ireland.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. At the time of writing, Wales is the only part of the UK that has restricted the sale of non-essential items in supermarkets. There is no indication that this model of restriction will be introduced in Northern Ireland. Continue reading Are Northern Ireland retailers covering up non-essential items from sale?