A comprehensively debunked social media post from 2021 has resurfaced and is being widely shared on Facebook.
According to the claim, an infectious diseases expert has testified in court that people who have had two COVID-19 vaccine doses are 13 times more likely to catch and spread the virus.
It is also claimed the expert conceded vaccines are dangerous for pregnant women and that they have never been studied for effectiveness and safety.
The claims were false in 2021 and are still false now.
Although they originally appeared 18 months ago, the claims have had a revival in recent weeks and posts are spreading unchallenged on social media, examples here, here, here, here, here, here and here
The claim is based on a falsified testimony from Professor Kristine Macartney, director of Australia’s National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.
Prof Macartney testified before the NSW Supreme Court during a hearing that took place in September and October 2021. The case involved a group of construction and healthcare workers attempting to challenge mandatory vaccination requirements in the workplace.
The posts currently being shared on social media, begin: “This happened today in NSW, Australia”.
But there is nothing current about the post — it’s a duplication of the same post from 2021, a screenshot of which is included in this RMIT ABC Fact Check debunk from October 15, 2021.
The posts make three main claims associated with Prof Macartney’s purported testimony. It is claimed she states double vaccinated people are 13 times more likely to catch and spread COVID. Secondly, it is alleged she concedes the vaccines are dangerous to pregnant women or those planning to fall pregnant.Thirdly, it is claimed she admits the vaccines have never been studied for effectiveness and safety.
But a summary of the judgement from the case tells a different story.
In cross examination, Prof Macartney was asked about a study that claimed people are 13 times more likely to be infected with COVID.
Rather than agreeing with its findings, Prof Macartney noted the study was not peer reviewed and its conclusion was “somewhat out of keeping with a number of the other studies that have come out of Israel”.
In relation to the second claim, Prof Macartney noted there was “reassuring data … on the safety of vaccines in pregnancy”.
When questioned about the supposed lack of studies, Prof Macartney states there is “ample evidence” regarding the vaccines, before she then talks to a number of studies.
Prof Macartney cites different studies on a number of occasions in her evidence.
When the post first emerged, Prof Macartney told RMIT ABC Fact Check the claims were “wholly inaccurate”.
The claims were also rejected by the NCIRS in a statement released on October 12, 2021.
“A falsified court transcript has been shared that misrepresents the responses Professor Macartney provided to a series of questions,” the statement reads.
“The responses in these online articles and posts attributed to Professor Macartney are fabricated. They do not reflect what Professor Macartney said, the official court transcript, expert opinion or fact.”
This is reflected in news reports of the hearing from the time, example here.
An article from news.com.au, from October 14, 2021, described the original social media post as an “embarrassing own goal for anti-vaxxers”.
The claim that an infectious diseases expert told a court double vaccinated people are 13 times more likely to catch and spread COVID-19 is false.
Claims that she said the vaccines are dangerous for pregnant women and that they have never been studied for effectiveness and safety are also false.
Court records and news reports from the time reveal she said the opposite to what is claimed.
False — The claim is inaccurate.