The so-called ‘fact-checking’ companies go further and further in spreading misinformation about policies regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

Daily Sceptic –

The usual tactics until now have consisted in creating strawmen and then attacking them, making dubious and unsupported claims and putting words into people‘s mouths. Today, Mr. David Williams at Australian Associated Press Factcheck went a step further. His “verdict” of a claim he is trying to debunk is astonishingly misleading. It might be noted that AAP Factcheck claims to be “committed to truth and accuracy”.

Apparently, Williams has managed to find an old Facebook post from October 24th last year claiming that COVID-19 vaccines are no longer offered to people under 65 and 50 in Norway and Denmark, respectively. The ‘fact check’ also mentions that Toby tweeted around the same time: “Denmark has banned the use of COVID-19 vaccines for people under 50 saying the benefits are too low.”

I do not have information on the Norwegian policy and have made no claims about it, but as I wrote a piece on the Danish policy for the Daily Sceptic last September – it was this piece that Toby’s tweet was promoting – and a follow-up debunking a ‘fact-check’ on that post, I know how at the time no COVID-19 vaccines were offered to the general population of Denmark under 50. This policy was still unchanged when the aforementioned Facebook post was published.

In his verdict, Mr. Williams makes the following claim: “False. The primary doses are recommended for all adults. While the countries’ booster programs are targeted at those 45 and above, younger citizens can get access.”

To support the first part of his claim, that primary doses are recommended for all Danish adults, Mr. Williams refers to information provided by the Danish Health Authorities here. But the source does not support this claim. Instead, this is what it actually says:

The Danish Health Authority recommends vaccination for certain groups:

  • People aged 50 and over
  • People under the age of 50 who are at increased risk of a serious illness with COVID-19
  • Staff in the health and care sector as well as parts of the social sector who have close contact with patients or citizens who are at increased risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19
  • Relatives of persons at particularly high risk
  • Pregnant women

The above are the groups for which vaccination is recommended. It is not recommended for other groups. This means Mr. Williams‘ first claim is false.

The second part of Mr. Williams‘s claim is that while both countries target booster programs at those 45 and over, younger individuals can get the boosters. As for the first part of this statement, it is untrue for Denmark (I do not know about Norway). Booster programmes, according to the source Mr. Williams quotes, are targeted at those 50 and over, not 45 and over. This claim, therefore, is wrong as well. The third claim in Mr. Williams‘s ‘verdict’ is that “younger citizens can get access”, again referring both to Norway and Denmark. As for Denmark, this flies in the face of his own source, which he even quotes in his article, saying “The purpose of vaccination is not to prevent infection with COVID-19, and people aged under 50 are therefore currently not being offered booster vaccination.”

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