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. Continue reading COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy

Disinformation in a pandemic: sharing fact checkers’ experiences

Disinformation in a pandemic: sharing fact checkers’ experiences
23 March 2021

As part of the Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics, editors from three fact-checking organisations across these isles shared their experiences of work during the pandemic — Claire Milne (Full Fact), Christine Bohan (TheJournal.ie), and Allan Leonard (FactCheckNI). The event was hosted by Ciaran Hanna from InsideIreland.ie. Continue reading Disinformation in a pandemic: sharing fact checkers’ experiences

Children living in poverty in Northern Ireland

How many children in Northern Ireland live in poverty? Dr Julie-Ann Maney, a paediatrician who works at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, wrote an article on this topic, claiming that one third of children in Northern Ireland live in poverty. Her claim was based on projections in a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, published in 2013. Continue reading Children living in poverty in Northern Ireland

Is Northern Ireland one of the most locked-down places in the world?

CLAIM: Northern Ireland is one of the most “locked-down” places in the world.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. According to a “Government Stringency Index”, the UK has one of the strictest lockdown policies in the world, but the Northern Ireland Executive’s response is not the strictest within the UK. Continue reading Is Northern Ireland one of the most locked-down places in the world?

Just 113 COVID-19 deaths in Northern Ireland since the start of the pandemic?

CLAIM: There have been just 113 COVID-19 deaths in all.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. At face value, the figure is contradicted by other evidence and ignores or misunderstands comorbidity and causes of death. Data shows that by the end of September 2020, COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death for 808 deaths (89.6%) of the 902 COVID-19-related deaths registered.  Continue reading Just 113 COVID-19 deaths in Northern Ireland since the start of the pandemic?

Seasonal flu and COVID

In the afternoon briefing on Wednesday, 10 February 2021, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, commented that the COVID-19 restrictions have “most certainly also had an impact on other viruses that we normally see at this time of year” (7:17 from start).

Dr McBride added: “This winter, as yet, there have been no outbreaks of flu; no outbreaks of norovirus, the winter vomiting bug; and no outbreaks of RSV, the respiratory illness that affects our children so badly each winter …” Continue reading Seasonal flu and COVID