Comparing suicide statistics

During the pandemic, there have been claims that the number of deaths by suicide has increased, reflecting the acknowledged mental strain experienced by many. FactCheckNI has published several fact checks, citing the lack of recent data to substantiate such claims. Recent data have been published, but analysing statistics on suicide remains complicated, due to registration delays and how the definition of suicide is applied. Continue reading Comparing suicide statistics

How-to: Reverse image search

Take a brief moment to check viral images online before you share them. This can help stop the spread of misinformation/disinformation. There are many online search engines and tools which will point to the origins of images you see on social media channels and elsewhere on the web. As fact checkers these are often our “go to” tools when considering an image. 

Images are a quick, easy, and shareable way to communicate a message online. At FactCheckNI we often see them  reappear some time later because of a renewed interest in the topic that the image is associated with. We also see them used out of context (e.g. a different time and/or place) in misleading ways.

Here’s a worked example of how we checked an image that was widely shared.  Continue reading How-to: Reverse image search

COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy

The issue of how COVID-19 vaccines may impact fertility and/or pregnancy continues to be live. Health Minister Robin Swann told the Stormont health committee on 14 January 2021, that an anti-vaccination group targeted young female healthcare staff outside vaccination centres, saying COVID-19 vaccination would affect their fertility. He added that this message was “quite negative, quite wrong, potentially quite damaging”. This was also reported in the local media.

These particular anti-vaccination campaigners are not alone in this view. Theories are being spread across social media, particularly about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, about how a protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus which causes COVID-19), called a “spike protein” works. 

This is where it gets a little complicated.  Continue reading COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy

Is a quarter of Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 unvaccinated population unlikely to get jab?

CLAIM: A quarter of Northern Ireland’s population that is unvaccinated for COVID-19 is unlikely to ever get the vaccine.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. A survey by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) reported that 24% of respondents who had not been vaccinated said that they were “fairly unlikely” or “very unlikely” to get the vaccine. However the headline fails to give context. Only 22% of respondents have not been vaccinated, so the cohort unlikely to get the vaccine represents 5% of those surveyed.  Continue reading Is a quarter of Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 unvaccinated population unlikely to get jab?

Some suggestions when handling COVID-19 leaflets

Some suggestions when handling COVID-19 leaflets
30 July 2021

A number of leaflets about COVID-19 vaccines and their safety have been circulating in Northern Ireland. FactCheckNI has previously fact checked many of these claims. What is notable is how these leaflets are designed to communicate a lot of information, and more often than not are attributed to a specific group that may not previously have been well known (or indeed, known at all).  Continue reading Some suggestions when handling COVID-19 leaflets

Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines

On 16 April 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that all pregnant people should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, in line with the age group roll out. 

Prior to this, they had recommended a risk-based approach and said that pregnant people with high risk medical conditions — and met the definition of being “clinically extremely vulnerable” — should consider having a COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy. This was because they viewed that their underlying condition may put them at a higher risk of experiencing serious complications of COVID-19.

However, the guidance regarding vaccination against COVID-10 during pregnancy has changed as new research and evidence has emerged. 

It has been indicated that it is preferable for pregnant people in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available, as there is more safety data available on these vaccines in pregnancy. Continue reading Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines