Stand up for the facts!
Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
The World Health Organization did not say COVID-19 vaccines might cause multiple sclerosis.
A video shared on Instagram claimed that the World Health Organization said there is "a possible causal relationship" between COVID-19 vaccines and multiple sclerosis, an incurable autoimmune disease that can lead to vision problems, muscle weakness or loss of balance.
The World Health Organization did not make such a statement.
The video was created by John Campbell, who describes himself as a retired "nurse teacher." His claims about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines have been debunked before by PolitiFact and other fact-checkers.
The abstract described work by Swiss researchers, not the World Health Organization.
It said two cases of multiple sclerosis could have been induced by COVID-19 inoculations.
Roland Martin, one of the researchers, told The Associated Press that the vaccine was related to the onset of multiple sclerosis in two patients, but that the abstract’s wording was "probably too strong" because there are many other possible causes of multiple sclerosis.
Julie Fiol, an associate vice president at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, told the AP that a much larger and different type of experiment would need to be done to prove cause and effect.
The World Health Organization told PolitiFact there is no conclusive link between multiple sclerosis and COVID-19 vaccination.
The study could indicate a correlation between multiple sclerosis and COVID-19 vaccination, but "it is too early to draw conclusions" because studies of that type "do not establish causation but instead establish likely links between two events that warrant further study," the organization said.
We rate the Instagram post False.
UPDATE, Aug. 29, 2023: This story has been updated to include direct comment from the World Health Organization.
Instagram, post, Aug. 24, 2023
World Health Organization, "Covid-19 vaccination can induce multiple sclerosis via cross-reactive CD4+ T cells recognizing SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and myelin peptides," accessed Aug. 28, 2023
Multiple Sclerosis Journal, "Covid-19 vaccination can induce multiple sclerosis via cross-reactive CD4+ T cells recognizing SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and myelin peptides," October 2022
Vera Files, "WHO did not say COVID-19 vaccines cause multiple sclerosis," June 22, 2023
Associated Press, "Posts misrepresent research on multiple sclerosis and COVID-19 vaccines found in WHO database," May 30, 2023
PA Media, "COVID-19 infection more likely to trigger multiple sclerosis than vaccines," Aug. 2, 2023
Email, World Health Organization, Aug. 29, 2023
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.