“I’m warning you all: If you going to take the [n]ew ‘drug’ which is said to be R150 please be careful, and don’t fall trap onto a setup on being infertile,” reads a message posted on Facebook on 18 June 2020.
The post includes a screenshot of what seems to be a tweet by David Icke. Icke is an English former footballer and sports commentator best known for his conspiracy theories, such as that the world is secretly controlled by an alien reptile species.
The tweet reads: “Big Pharma whistleblower: ‘97% of corona vaccine recipients will become infertile’.”
A YouTube spokesperson told the BBC that the channel was taken down because it violated “policies prohibiting any content that disputes the existence and transmission of Covid-19 as described by the WHO and the NHS” – World Health Organization and National Health Service.
But what is the new R150 drug the Facebook user refers to? Is it a vaccine, and does it cause infertility?
Promising drug costs R150 in South Africa
The Facebook message implies that the “vaccine” mentioned in Icke’s tweet is dexamethasone.
The drug is a corticosteroid already used to relieve inflammation and treat certain forms of arthritis, severe allergies and asthma.
Dexamethasone not vaccine
Recovery is a national trial to “identify treatments that may be beneficial for people hospitalised with suspected or confirmed Covid-19”.
The trial did not observe the same benefits from dexamethasone in patients who weren’t on ventilators.
But dexamethasone is not a Covid-19 vaccine. The WHO has said that doctors should only consider the drug when treating severely and critically ill patients.
“Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, should not be taken to prevent Covid-19 or to treat mild symptoms of Covid-19,” the WHO said.
We could not find any studies suggesting that the drug causes 97% of recipients to become infertile.
Currently no Covid-19 vaccine
There is currently no vaccine available for Covid-19. There are 16 candidate vaccines undergoing testing, according to the WHO.
We could not find any reputable sources reporting that any of them have been found to cause infertility. – Naledi Mashishi
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