VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Filipina vlogger abroad amplifies FAKE Canada COVID-19 ‘roadmap’ and FALSE vaccine claims

Facebook (FB) page Lynn Channel yet again peddled untrue claims about COVID-19 in an hour-long FB Live video on Oct. 21. The United Kingdom (U.K.)-based Filipina vlogger behind the account read from a viral “leaked email” supposedly from the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC), detailing Canada’s next steps to address the pandemic—including a “debt relief” program for people who agree to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and a “disease” it called COVID-21.

The email is fabricated, and has already been debunked by several fact-checkers abroad. Lynn Channel also made erroneous claims about vaccines and vaccination practices in the U.K.

In an Oct. 22 article by the Agence France-Presse, a senior director of the LPC said the “leaked email” is not authentic, adding that they do not have a “strategic committee”—which was cited as the source of the information in the email.

The Canadian Prime Minister’s Office, which supposedly “steered” the group, also told Reuters in an Oct. 28 report that “there [is] no such committee in existence.” A look at the committees of the prime minister’s Cabinet and the committees of Canada’s Parliament, both the House of Commons and the Senate, shows no such body.

More, there is no “World Debt Reset program” under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that will set personal debts to “zero” in exchange for getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and “COVID-21.”

The latter “disease” is nonexistent; it has not been mentioned in reports by the World Health Organization (WHO), and only corresponds to a title of a September 2020 movie.

The false claim might have been a fallacious twist of the World Bank and the IMF’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative, which defers debt payments of the world’s poorest countries, allowing them to instead use their money to “mitigate the human and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.” IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva has also mentioned a “Great Reset” or a “Global Economic Reset,” but her pronouncements never included a “total debt relief” program as described by Lynn Channel.

Untrue vaccine claims

Aside from reading the concocted roadmap, Lynn Channel made spurious pronouncements about COVID-19 and the vaccines being developed for it.

First, she warned viewers that vaccines “have [a] live virus” in them. This is misleading. Of the four main types of vaccines, according to the WHO and the United States’ website, only live attenuated vaccines (LAV) carry a live but weakened version of a virus. The other three types are:

  • inactivated vaccines which contain a killed version of the virus;
  • subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide, and conjugate vaccines which only use specific, non-live parts of the virus; and
  • toxoid vaccines which use a toxin made by the virus to create immunity against it.

Researchers in an article published Sept. 4 in the scientific journal Nature have noted that the development of LAVs for coronaviruses “is particularly challenging” because of the possibility that the live virus it contains would “recombine with wild coronaviruses to recreate a pathogenic strain.”

But of 258 vaccine candidates so far recorded by the COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Vaccine Center, only four are of the LAV type, all of which are still in the preclinical trial stage.

Lynn Channel also said the COVID-19 vaccine is a “total hoax,” since the virus causing the disease “has long mutated,” thus any vaccine that will be developed later will no longer be effective against future strains of the virus.

Studies have demonstrated the existence of other strains of SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19-causing virus, such as the G614 strain which replaced D614 as the most dominant form of the virus. But experts, like those from the Philippine Genome Center, said in August that at least for the G614 strain, the mutation “does not have a lot of implications” for COVID-19 vaccine designs. (See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: The ‘new’ coronavirus strain, explained)

Researchers from the Australian government’s national science research agency in October also found no evidence that the mutation will adversely affect the efficacy of vaccine candidates.

Lastly, Lynn Channel claimed the British government passed a law allowing “ordinary” citizens to administer vaccines and freeing them from any liabilities in case they vaccinate someone incorrectly. This is untrue.

As an amendment to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, the U.K. recently permitted more healthcare workers, including independent nurses, allied healthcare professionals, paramedics, physiotherapists, pharmacists, student nurses, and doctors, to administer “flu and potential COVID-19 vaccines.” The amendment does not say “ordinary” people.

The government also said these medical workers “will undergo a robust training programme” before they are allowed to vaccinate anyone, and that no vaccine will be given to the citizens unless it has met “stringent standards” and has passed “comprehensive” clinical trials.

Lynn Channel’s false post came a week after President Rodrigo Duterte announced he already has the money needed to buy COVID-19 vaccines, but he still needs more funds in order to cover the vaccination of all Filipinos.

The false video has been viewed 3.2 million times by FB users. It already got over 24,000 reactions, 15,000 comments, and 31,000 shares, and could have reached over 24.8 million people, according to social media tool CrowdTangle.

Traffic to the post largely came from Lynn Channel itself, and public groups Fabunan Anti Viral Solid Supporters and OFW 24/7 WORLDWIDE RESCUE TEAM. Lynn Channel was created on Feb. 10.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)