Fact Check: Conspiracy theory about COVID-19 vaccines and sterility is viral again; 2009 video has false information
The viral claims that COVID was planned and its vaccines cause sterility are false. An interview now going viral was conducted in 2009 as part of a show on conspiracy theories, in which Dr Rima Laibow made such claims. Dr Laibow has been accused of selling unlicensed drugs in the US at various times. There is no evidence that the WHO has been preparing vaccines to create sterility or that swine flu vaccines created permanent sterility.
- By Vishvas News
- Updated: March 28, 2023
New Delhi (Vishvas News): As COVID cases spike in India, conspiracy theories and rumours have gained momentum on social media once again. A new viral post is now claiming that in 2009 a woman named Dr Rima Laibow, who is identified as a “Natural Medicine Advocate”, said in an interview that the World Health Organization (WHO) had been “working on vaccines since 1974 to create permanent sterility”. A detailed investigation by Vishvas News found that there is no such evidence.
The interview being referred to in the viral post is from a show called ‘Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura’, in which the host talks to people about various conspiracy theories. The viral video clip has been taken from such a show about false theories on the swine flu that was spreading in 2008-09.
Facebook user Lukasz Igla shared a post (archive link) that claimed: “This was back in 2009! The post which reshared ‘The Gist of Our Lives’ video, cautioned, ‘In 2009, the TruTV reality show, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, featured leading medical doctor Dr Rima Laibow, who treated multiple heads of state, discussing how she learned of a UN plan to release a virus as the trigger for depopulation through vaccines & more.”
Similar claims were shared by other users on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The six-minute video shows Jesse Ventura, the former professional wrestler who also served as governer of the state of Minnesota, conducting an interview on a 2009 episode of the truTV show ‘Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura’.
In the fifth episode named ‘Secret Societies‘, he investigated the Annual Bilderberg Meetings that many conspiracists believe runs the world. The private gatherings, attended by political leaders, government officials and experts from industry, finance, media and academia in Europe and North America, are often the target of conspiracy theories, as per news reports.
First, he spoke to famous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who warns the population about a pandemic. Next, Dr Rima Laibow said in the interview that she left the US because she didn’t feel safe. She then made a series of allegations, including that the WHO “has decided that we have 90% too many people” and that it has worked since 1974 on vaccines “to create permanent sterility”.
She also accused the US government of inducing a pandemic using a nasal mist vaccine that will spread the flu from one person to another; and that the government will respond by saying it doesn’t have enough vaccines and so it will add squalene to existing supplies. This squalene, she claimed, would cause sterility, thus an inability to produce children. “What that means is a holocaust, a genocidal holocaust,” she claimed.
Dr Rima Laibow is not new to controversies. Notably, in March 2023, USA Today published a report about her recommending a product which was recalled after the US government found that the product’s labelling and distributors made “unsubstantiated health claims that the product will prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19”.
“Marketing unproven products as treatments for COVID-19 endangers public health and violates the law,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
To debunk the viral post, Vishvas News divided the claim into three parts:
- The posted video dates back to 2009
As per the Mayo Clinic research page, H1N1 or swine flu was declared a pandemic by WHO in 2009 (the same year when the video was released). The virus caused an estimated 2.8 lakh deaths worldwide. In August 2010, WHO declared the pandemic over. But H1N1 became one of the strains that cause seasonal flu.
There is no medical evidence to show that the swine flu vaccine had created permanent sterility.
- The claim that WHO has been preparing vaccines “to create complete sterility” since the 1970s
There is no evidence to show that WHO has been preparing vaccines to create complete sterility. In fact, there is no evidence that the present COVID-19 vaccines will cause complete sterility.
Debuking the claims, Shamila Sharma, Public Information and Advocacy Officer, WHO South-East Asia Regional Office, termed the statement “fake”.
A UNICEF fact-check also mentioned, “The vaccine against COVID-19 does not cause sterility.”
Vishvas News also contacted Dr Gagandeep Kang, an Indian microbiologist and virologist who is a professor in the Division of Gastrointestinal Sciences, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu. She is a leading researcher with a focus on viral infections in children and the testing of vaccines.
Responding via email, she spoke on specific claims about squalene and sterility. She wrote, “Squalene is naturally present in the human body and we also absorb it from our food. The vaccines developed for H1N1 did contain a squalene-derived adjuvant (and they are also used for chickenpox and malaria vaccines), but none of the COVID-19 vaccines we have in India uses a squalene based adjuvant at this time.”
- Claim that COVID-19 pandemic was planned
Rejecting this claim too, Dr Kang pointed out, “These are the usual factless conspiracy theories that are harmful to both public health and to public understanding of science.”
The Facebook user who shared the viral claim is followed by nearly 1,500 people.
Conclusion: The viral claims that COVID was planned and its vaccines cause sterility are false. An interview now going viral was conducted in 2009 as part of a show on conspiracy theories, in which Dr Rima Laibow made such claims. Dr Laibow has been accused of selling unlicensed drugs in the US at various times. There is no evidence that the WHO has been preparing vaccines to create sterility or that swine flu vaccines created permanent sterility.
- Claim Review : 2009 show based on conspiracy theories is shared as proof of WHO working on COVID-19 vaccines to create permanent sterility
- Claimed By : Fb user: Lukasz Igla
- Fact Check : False
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