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CoronaCheck # 92
In this week’s edition of CoronaCheck, we take a look at Craig Kelly’s latest text message broadcast and its claims that vaccines have caused an increase in heart problems with hospitals filled with vaccinated patients.
We are also investigating whether NSW companies are responsible for compensating workers injured by jab and whether Italy has drastically reduced its COVID-19 death toll. Plus, what did Labor’s election policy really say about electric vehicles?
Craig Kelly sends messages again
United Australia Party MP Craig Kelly has treated voters with a new round of unsolicited text messages, this time sharing a link to his website and a video full of false and misleading allegations about COVID-19 vaccines.
The allegations, which suggested that vaccines were behind an increase in hospitalizations, were made by a protester during a demonstration against mandatory jabs for health professionals, held in Adelaide on 2 November.
“The hospitals are not full of COVID patients,” the protester claimed, claiming they were “full of vaccinated patients” instead.
But according to a statement provided to the Fact Check by SA Health: “There is no truth in the claims of this person.”
With more than 90 percent of over 16s now receiving at least one jab, it’s no surprise that vaccinated people are more likely to be represented in hospital data, a point Fact Check has previously explained.
And with only one active case of COVID-19 in all of southern Australia, the state’s hospital system would obviously not be filled with infected patients.
The protester also erroneously claimed that vaccines had led to an increase in the number of deaths from myocarditis, a rare side effect of mRNA vaccines that cause inflammation in the heart muscle.
“We’re talking about 20-year-olds who have fallen dead,” she said.
“Suddenly, every third 20-year-old has myocarditis. Do you know what it leads to? Heart transplantation.”
But this is not the case, as the latest weekly report from the Therapeutic Goods Administration on vaccine safety shows that there have been only two cases of myocarditis per day. 100,000 administered doses.
The frequency was highest among 18-29-year-old men, but still fewer than four cases per year. 100,000 doses – a rate that “includes cases of myocarditis that occurred after vaccination but may not be vaccine-related”.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) has stated that “[m]reported cases [of myocarditis] has been mild, self-limiting, and has recovered quickly, “with only a small number of more serious cases requiring hospitalization.
There have been no deaths in Australia associated with myocarditis from a COVID-19 socket.
David Hare, research director at Austin Health’s Department of Cardiology in Melbourne, told Fact Check that there had been “no published cases of any [person] need a heart transplant “due to a COVID-19 vaccine.
In any case, he said, patients with myocarditis end up “very rarely” in this situation.
In addition, SA Health explained, myocarditis is both more common and more severe in people infected with COVID-19 than in those who have been vaccinated against it.
No, NSW companies are not responsible for the side effects of the vaccine
Allegations that NSW has enacted a law holding companies liable for vaccine side effects should a mandate be imposed are false, Fact Check has found.
“The NSW government has just enacted a law that employers who mandate the jab are now responsible for any side effects,” claims dozens of posts across Facebook.
“They have to pay compensation to that person for the rest of their lives, even if they do not work for them anymore.”
Many of the posts include links to the Public Health Amendment Bill (Vaccination Compensation) Bill 2021, the details of which are available on Parliament’s website.
But even though the bill actually seeks to make companies responsible for any negative effects in some cases, it has not been passed by parliament and is not law.
The bill, introduced by the Christian Democratic Party’s Fred Nile, proposes that if a “relevant body” requires a worker to be vaccinated against a disease (not just COVID-19), it will then be “obliged to pay compensation to the worker for any injury, loss or damage suffered by the worker as a result of the vaccine “.
“The body in question remains liable to pay compensation to the worker until the death of the worker, even if the worker ceases to be employed or otherwise employed by the body in question,” the proposal reads.
Although the bill was presented to Parliament in February 2021, the debate was postponed and a vote has not yet turned into anything and the government showed no interest in passing it.
Italy’s COVID-19 death toll unchanged; more than 130,000 are dead
An allegation that the official COVID-19 death toll in Italy was revised down by “more than 97 per cent” has been shared by a popular Australian COVID-19 conspiracy group, despite being rejected by a number of fact-checkers.
According to Facebook posts from Reignite Democracy Australia, the Italian National Institutes of Health had “drastically” downgraded its official COVID-19 death toll from 130,468 to 3,783.
The group also republished an article written by British conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson, who argued that the revision came after Italy changed its definition of a COVID-19 death “to a person who died by COVID instead of with COVID”.
This article is based on a blog post by Toby Young, a well-known Conservative author and journalist in the UK.
But while Young has since updated his post to admit that the allegation appeared to be based on an opinion piece that “seriously misrepresents” the institute’s position, Reignite Democracy Australia has not yet corrected the record.
AFP fact-checkers recently explained the origin of the false claim and singled out an article on October 21 in the Italian newspaper Il Tempo as the most likely culprit.
According to this article, a report from the Italian institute had apparently found that only 2.9 percent of COVID-19 deaths could be counted – they are deaths where no comorbidities were recorded (concomitant health conditions).
However, as experts have explained, comorbidities increase the risk of serious illness and death in people with COVID-19. In addition, comorbidities are often caused by COVID-19 itself, with the disease being the underlying cause of death.
Fact checkers at USA Today added that Italy’s COVID-19 death toll remained close to 130,000 in October, and there was no evidence that it was ever officially changed.
In other news: PM rewrites Labor’s electric car policy
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been caught trying to rewrite history as he tried to justify his party’s newfound support for electric vehicles.
During a news conference on November 9, Mr Morrison offered an explanation as to why he opposed Labor’s policy on electric vehicles during the 2019 federal election, telling reporters:
“I do not have a problem with electric vehicles. I just have a problem with governments telling people what to do, what vehicles to drive and where to drive them, which is what Bill Shorten’s plan was. “
Political documents from the time, however, tell a different story.
Under Labor, the public service would have been forced to buy more electric cars, but the party’s action plan for climate change did not mention reducing consumer choice.
In fact, as then-Labor leader Bill Shorten told reporters: “On electric vehicles, we are not a mandate. If you do not want to buy an electric vehicle by 2030, then do not.”
The party’s plan was to set a “target” to increase the number of new electric cars sold by 2030, which would “send a strong signal to carmakers to send a wider range of more affordable electric cars” to Australia.
Labor policy also planned to promote the proliferation of electric vehicles by offering tax deductions to businesses and introducing vehicle emission standards that some analysts suggested would have reduced the cost of drivers of petrol cars.
And how about telling people where to drive?
Labor policy sought to expand the range of options for drivers, for example by requiring all federally funded road upgrades to incorporate charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
It also planned to create a $ 200 million fund “to roll out nationwide charging infrastructure” that will provide fast charging stations to “rural and regional Australia and Australia’s most critical road corridors”.
Edited by David Campbell, thanks to Matt Harvey and Olivia Thomson
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