Deputy deceives with post that associates player’s myocarditis with vaccine

This check was carried out by journalists who are part of the Comprova Project, created to combat disinformation, of which the metropolises is part. Read more about this partnership here.

Verified content: in a montage published on Facebook, deputy Carla Zambelli highlights titles of three reports that, read in sequence, suggest that a Bayern Munich player developed myocarditis after receiving a vaccine against Covid-19. In the caption, she makes the comment: “News that speaks for itself! Draw your conclusions!”.

IT’S MISLEADING the post published by federal deputy Carla Zambelli on Facebook, in which she makes a montage with news headlines suggesting that Canadian player Alphonso Davies, from Bayern Munich (Germany), had myocarditis due to the Covid-19 vaccine . The player had this problem after contracting the disease, as shown in the entirety of one of the news highlighted by the parliamentarian. The conclusion about the player’s diagnosis was officially released by Bayern Munich.

Misleading: Content taken from the original context and used in another so that its meaning is changed; that uses inaccurate data or that leads to an interpretation different from the author’s intention; content that confuses, with or without the deliberate intent to cause harm.

In the post published on Facebook, the deputy emphasizes the content with the comment “News that speak for themselves! Draw your conclusions!”. In contact with Comprova, Carla Zambelli’s advice denied that she had linked this case of myocarditis to vaccination, but that was the understanding of several followers who commented on the deputy’s post.

Comprova classified the content as misleading, because it takes the information about myocarditis and the diagnosis made in the Bayern Munich player out of context, leading to wrong conclusions.

How do we check?

To carry out the verification, we looked for the reports used by Carla Zambelli in the misleading montage to understand the context in which they were published and also what the texts in full said.

Next, we searched for official data from agencies such as the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), the Ministry of Health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — equivalent to Anvisa in the United States — and the National Program for Cerebro-Cardiovascular Diseases. of the Directorate-General for Health, the Portuguese government’s health agency.

Specialists, information on the official website of Bayern Munich and the deputy who published the montage were also sought.


Titles taken out of context lead to false understanding

The assembly published by the deputy brings the images of the titles of three different texts. The first is a report by the German agency Deutsche Welle, on November 22, 2021, with the headline “Bayern Munich punishes unvaccinated players”, which discusses the possibility of the club fining athletes who choose not to take the vaccine and miss days of training. work if they have Covid-19. This is a situation provided for in local legislation and involves salary cuts for non-immunized employees who miss work because of Covid-19 infection.

The second text is an alert from Anvisa published on its own website on July 9, 2021, with the title “Anvisa warns about risk of post-vaccination myocarditis and pericarditis”. There, the agency reported that the US FDA reported rare cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart) after vaccination against Covid-19 with messenger RNA platform immunizers. (mRNA), such as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The text highlights that these problems can be adverse effects of vaccines, but maintains the recommendation of immunization, since the “benefits outweigh the risks” and that the data suggest a higher incidence in young people and in a mild form.

The third text is a report from the Globo Esporte website, on January 14, 2022, with the title “Alphonso Davies is diagnosed with myocarditis and needs to be removed at Bayern Munich”. The text is clear when informing that the left-back had the inflammation in the heart as a result of the Covid-19 infection, and not because of the vaccination. On the same day, Bayern Munich confirmed the removal of Alphonso Davies from training due to myocarditis. Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann has officially spoken about the case. “In the follow-up exam we do with all infected players, we found signs of mild myocarditis in Alphonso. He’s not training. The ultrasound revealed that it’s not that dramatic the case, but he’s going to need to be out for the next few weeks because it takes a while to recover.”

To the Canadian newspaper The Star, the player’s manager, Nick Househ, said the same day that Davies was fully vaccinated, having taken the booster dose in December.

The news that the Bayern Munich athlete had Covid-19 was also known since January 5, when the German club announced that Davies tested positive.

These two public facts – that Davies had Covid-19 and that the myocarditis originated from the disease – do not appear in the montage published by Zambelli on January 15, 2022. The deputy is a member of the bench supporting President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) and, like him, has a performance marked by the dissemination of content against vaccination against Covid-19. In December 2021, for example, Agência Lupa showed that the parliamentarian used false content to attack the vaccination of children against the disease.

Sought by Comprova, the deputy’s advice denied that she had said that the myocarditis problem faced by Alphonso Davies was related to the vaccine. According to the advisory, the parliamentarian posted information that is an alert from Anvisa itself about the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis. “There was no claim from her that it was due to the vaccine,” he said.

The titles of the articles published in isolation, without the complete content and consecutively, led, however, to the false understanding that the Canadian player developed heart disease after being vaccinated.

The comment with the most interactions on Zambelli’s Facebook post is from a user who says she has not taken the vaccine and who claims to be observing “several cases of deaths and vaccine reactions”, which the “media does not show”, leaving “the people ” not knowing what to do”. Another user says: “If you don’t drink, you can’t play. If you take it and you have a problem, you can’t play. Is hard!”

Both comments were answered by Zambelli. In the first case, she said: “We must always defend our freedom! Without it we can do nothing.” In the second case, he said: “Very complicated, isn’t it? That’s why I keep defending our freedom!”

Screenshot of Facebook comments between deputy Carla Zambelli and a follower
Screenshot of Carla Zambelli’s message exchange with a Facebook user taken on January 28, 2022

At no time did the parliamentarian clarified to the reader that the Canadian player’s problem was detected after he contracted Covid-19, and not after he was vaccinated. The deputy also does not inform her followers that myocarditis possibly related to vaccination tends to have a rapid recovery and that the risk of a person having myocarditis after contracting Covid-19 many times outweighs the risk of this occurring as an adverse effect of vaccination.

Myocarditis and Covid-19

Several experts point out, using various studies, that the risk of developing myocarditis after vaccination is much lower than the risk of having this problem after contracting Covid-19.

In September 2021, for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, linked to the US FDA, published a study according to which the incidence of myocarditis in vaccinees is 9 cases per 100,000 while in people who had the disease and have not been vaccinated are 150 cases for every 100,000.

According to infectious disease specialist André Ricardo Araújo da Silva, a physician at Grupo Prontobaby and professor at the Fluminense Federal University, myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, the myocardium. “Symptoms are usually chest pain, a feeling of palpitation. The person may feel short of breath as something is squeezing”, he told Comprova.

On January 4, 2022, during a public hearing on the vaccination against Covid-19 of children and adolescents, held by the Ministry of Health, the representative of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics, Marco Aurélio Sáfadi, commented on this issue. “One adverse event that has been observed is the occurrence of myocarditis among those vaccinated. But it is important to understand whether this risk is different for Covid-19 itself. Even in the groups with the most cases of myocarditis with vaccination, the numbers are tens of times lower than the risk of myocarditis attributed to Covid-19 itself”, explained the doctor.

On the 25th, a document from the National Program for Cerebro-Cardiovascular Diseases, from the Directorate-General for Health, an organ of the Portuguese government, concluded that “myocarditis after vaccination is very rare and generally mild, with rapid recovery, it seems not have sequelae and particularly affects boys in their teens and young adults”, according to Público newspaper.

In July last year, the Covid-19 subcommittee of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) issued a statement on reports of myocarditis and pericarditis following Covid-19 mRNA vaccines.

The subcommittee also reviewed data from Australia, Canada, Israel, and the US and noted that some, but not all, of the data suggested a higher incidence of myocarditis after a second dose of Moderna vaccine (Spikevax) than Pfizer’s (Comirnaty) vaccine in young men, although the overall risk is small. He further noted that myocarditis can occur after infection with the Covid-19 virus and that mRNA vaccines have a clear benefit in preventing hospitalization and death from the disease.

Available data suggest that the immediate course of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination with both immunizers is generally mild and responsive to treatment. Follow-up of cases remains ongoing by local bodies as well as independent entities to determine long-term outcomes. Vaccinated individuals should be instructed to seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms indicative of myocarditis or pericarditis, such as persistent chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations after vaccination.

According to the professor at the Universidade Federal Fluminense, in some cases of Covid, inflammation is one of the complications. “Covid-19 is a respiratory disease that causes flu-like symptoms in 85% of cases, which progress satisfactorily. From 10% to 15% of patients have mild and moderate effects and, within this group, we have cardiovascular alterations as one of the complications, including myocarditis and embolic phenomena, such as thrombosis. The exact incidence is not yet known, there are several studies that show a small percentage”, said the doctor.

Also according to the specialist, studies find out whether myocarditis may also have a causal relationship with the vaccine. “There are already reports in the literature of cases that happened in different parts of the world, of people who had inflammation after being immunized. But this cause and effect relationship is a bit complicated, it is necessary to remove all other possible causes, remove temporal coincidences, this is not always possible”, says André Ricardo.

Israel carried out a study of about 5 million people that points to a twice the incidence of developing myocarditis in people who received Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, developed with messenger RNA technology. Among the 5 million patients, 136 cases of myocarditis were identified.

Why do we investigate?

Comprova is committed to investigating suspicious content related to the pandemic, public policies of the federal government and elections. The team focuses on viral posts, which have had wide reach on social media and can cause misinformation.

The deputy’s post exceeded 30,000 interactions until January 28 and was edited in a way that induces the reader to question the effectiveness of the vaccine and even warns of a danger in the wrong way.

Comprova had previously shown that Pfizer vaccines carry a lower risk of myocarditis than Covid-19 and that their safety has been ensured by several regulatory agencies around the world.

About Abhishek Pratap

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