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Fact Checking a Fake Headline About COVID-19 Vaccines
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Fact Checking a Fake Headline About COVID-19 Vaccines

An image of an authentic article was digitally altered.

This image, taken from Twitter, is fake.

An image circulating on Twitter purports to show the headline of an article in The Conversation asking why unvaccinated people didn’t do more to warn the vaccinated against the alleged danger of the COVID-19 vaccines. The image shows a scheduled publication date of June 6, 2023, and it attributes the information to Alesandro Siani, associate head of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. 

The image is based on a real article by Siani published by The Conversation on January 6, 2023, but the image has been digitally altered. The opening paragraph of the fake article, visible in the image, reads: “While well intending citizens lined up, did the right thing, and received their COVID19 vaccinations, now known to do more harm than good, their unvaccinated friends and family stood by and let them do it. Even though they knew what we didn’t. Some of them said too little. Some said nothing at all. Our blood is now on their hands.”

The authentic article is headlined, “COVID: unvaccinated people may be seen as ‘free riders’ and face discrimination.” The Conversation is a site that publishes articles of a journalistic bent written by academics. Its official Twitter account has disowned the image in question and directed readers to the authentic article that was digitally altered.  

Siani has also provided a statement via his LinkedIn account in which he denies writing the fake article, explicitly stating that the “screenshot is photoshopped” and that it was “shared on Twitter by an anti-vax conspiracy theorist to spread misinformation.” 
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Cameron Hilditch is a fact-check reporter for The Dispatch.