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?

Is COVID-19 being put fraudulently on death certificates?

CLAIM: COVID-19 is being put on death certificates fraudulently, without a test having been carried out and when the patient died of something else.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. While it is true that not everyone who was suspected of dying from COVID-19 was positively tested, it is legal and not fraudulent for a doctor to rely on their knowledge and belief of the cause of death, including cases where the person showed symptoms of COVID-19. Continue reading Is COVID-19 being put fraudulently on death certificates?

Are death rates no higher this year than in a bad flu season?

CLAIM: The death rate in Northern Ireland is no higher in 2020 than in previous years.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The imprecision of “death rates” and “a bad flu season” makes it difficult to prove or disprove. However, the overall number of deaths registered in the second quarter of 2020 (4,684) is the highest of any second quarter figures recorded in the last ten years. Excess deaths in Northern Ireland have been higher in 2020 than in any of the previous ten years. Continue reading Are death rates no higher this year than in a bad flu season?

Was COVID-19 downgraded from being a high-consequence infectious disease?

CLAIM: The UK Government downgraded COVID-19 from being classified as a high-consequence infectious disease (HCID).

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. COVID-19 was downgraded by the UK Government on 19 March 2020 because it was deemed to be better understood, testing was available, and clinical awareness had risen. Continue reading Was COVID-19 downgraded from being a high-consequence infectious disease?

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?