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Video: Idaho Doctor Makes Baseless Claims About Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines

This article is available in both English and Español

In this video, FactCheck.org and Univision Noticias teamed up to debunk false claims made by a doctor in Idaho about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and treatments.

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have been found to be safe and effective in clinical trials and in real-world conditions. The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which was previously authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, received full approval from the agency on Aug. 23 for people 16 years of age and older.

Yet, Dr. Ryan Cole, who owns a medical lab in Idaho, falsely claimed at a forum hosted by Idaho’s lieutenant governor that clinical trials of mRNA vaccines have led to cancers and autoimmune diseases. The video with his remarks amassed more than a million views on social media.

Cole referred us to a 2018 paper published in the journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery that reviewed trials and studies of earlier mRNA vaccines to support his claim. But that paper doesn’t support his statement. In fact, Norbert Pardi, the lead author of the paper, told us that “No publications demonstrate that mRNA vaccines cause cancer or autoimmune diseases.”

For more details, see our story, “Idaho Doctor Makes Baseless Claims About Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines,” which, like the video, is available in English and Spanish.

Cole also baselessly claimed that ivermectin, a common anti-parasitic medication, could have prevented 375,000 deaths from COVID-19 in North America. But the drug has not been proven to be effective against the disease and neither World Health Organization nor the National Institutes of Health has recommended its use in the treatment of COVID-19.

This video with Univision Noticias is part of a joint project funded by the Google News Initiative to produce bilingual videos and articles about COVID-19 immunization misinformation.