COVID-19 vaccines and aborted fetuses

UPDATE: This article was updated on 27 July 2021, in response to a query about whether an mRNA vaccine by CureVac uses fetal cell lines in any stage of its development. It does not. This article was previously updated on 2 February 2021 to explain about the use of MRC-5 and HEK 293 cell lines in the design and testing of some vaccines.

By December 2020, there were 78 COVID-19 vaccines in development. Thirteen were in third stage trials, and seven already had limited approval for use. The Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine was the first to be approved for use in the UK on 2 December 2020.

Concerns have been expressed on social media that COVID-19 vaccines are made from aborted fetuses, and some people object to the vaccines on religious and ethical grounds.

Most of the COVID-19 vaccines in development do not use human cell lines in their production. For example, Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA technology.  Continue reading COVID-19 vaccines and aborted fetuses

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?