Five images have been shared in Korean-language social media posts alongside a claim they show babies born with defects caused by a "parasite" in a Covid-19 vaccine. The claim is false: the photos predate the Covid-19 pandemic. Health experts told AFP that Covid-19 vaccines do not contain live parasites.
The photos were shared here on South Korean blogging platform Naver Blog on November 16, 2021.
"As soon as you get a vaccine, parasites [in the vaccine] go into your DNA. It's been about a year since the launch of Covid-19, it's time to see babies born from mothers who got vaccinated against Covid-19. They are giving birth to monsters," reads the Korean-language claim in part.
Screenshot of the misleading Naver Blog post, captured on November 25, 2021. Each photo has been numbered by AFP in yellow. ( AFP)
However, the claim is false.
The photos predate the pandemic and health experts say Covid-19 vaccines do not contain live parasites.
A reverse image search on Google showed that the first and second images were published here in a report by International Business Times (IBT) on April 18, 2017.
The report reads in part: "A seven-month-old Iraqi baby boy, who was born with eight limbs, has been successfully operated on by surgeons at the Jaypee Hospital, located in Noida, India."
Below is a screenshot comparison of the images shared in the misleading Naver Blog post (L) and the photos published in the IBT report:
The third and fifth images have circulated in reports about a six-legged baby boy born in Pakistan in 2012.
A Google reverse image search found the third image published here in a report by Indian news website Firstpost on April 18, 2012.
The report reads in part: "A baby born in Pakistan's Sindh province has six legs, with a doctor assessing that the removal of the parasitic limbs could be a serious and time-consuming medical exercise."
Below is a screenshot comparison of the image shared in the misleading Naver Blog post (L) and the photo published by Firstpost:
The fifth image was published here in a report by a Pakistani daily The Nation on April 19, 2012, according to another reverse search on Google.
The report reads in part: "A team of doctors on Thursday successfully operated on the six-legged boy here in Karachi and separated his four legs and other extra parts from the body."
Below is a screenshot comparison between the image shared in the misleading Naver Blog post (L) and the photo published by The Nation:
The fourth image was published in a June 16, 2008 report by British tabloid Daily Mail here about an Indian girl who was born with eight limbs.
Below is a screenshot comparison between the image shared in the misleading social media posts (L) and the photo published by The Daily Mail:
Covid-19 vaccines do not contain live parasites, according to health experts.
Professor Kim Shin-woo, an epidemiologist at Kyungpook National University, told AFP that Covid-19 vaccines "cannot contain any parasites, because [parasites] are not included as ingredients, and because there is a strict system in place during the manufacturing process to prevent contaminations”.
Jung Jae-hun, a preventive medicine professor at the Gachon University College of Medicine and Science, also stressed that "all vaccines are manufactured in a sterile environment, unadulterated by other pathogens or viruses, let alone whole parasites."