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Alex Jones promotes false conspiracy that monkeypox outbreak is due to Covid-19 vaccines

The monkeypox outbreak theory is just the latest unproven claim to be promoted by the anti-vaxer

Johanna Chisholm
Tuesday 24 May 2022 13:23 BST
Alex Jones spreads unfounded claims that monkeypox is caused by the Covid vaccine

With more cases of the rare monkeypox virus being confirmed daily across the globe, it was only a matter of time before the conspiracy theorists began to share their two cents as to what could be causing the recent monkeypox outbreak.

Alex Jones decided in a recent episode of his show InfoWars to promote a new and wild mistruth about the cause behind the recent global outbreak of monkeypox: Covid-19 vaccines.

He began the segment by reminding his audience about how Bill Gates, a frequent target of derision by anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists alike for the millions of dollars he’s invested in Covid-19 research and vaccine development, had “bragged” last year about how smallpox could be the cause of the next pandemic and how it will be “far worse”.

“Then they put in all the orders for the new monkeypox vaccine, Biden just bought tens of millions of doses yesterday,” the InfoWars host began.  “And then magically right on time, right as the vaccines delivered, monkeypox pops up in more than 20 countries.”

Mr Jones, however, was incorrect about Mr Gates’ purported “bragging”. In fact, the Microsoft founder and philanthropist provided an interview last year at Policy Exchange with chair of the health select committee Jeremy Hunt where he warned that governments should prepare for smallpox terror attacks.

This point was clearly missed on Mr Jones, however, as he launched into a paranoid rant that attempted to falsely link Covid-19 vaccines, specifically J&J and AstraZeneca, to the recent monkeypox outbreak that the World Health Organisation has confirmed at least 80 cases of in at least a dozen countries in recent days.

“Because what is AstraZeneca and J&J? They’re virus vectors that inject the genome of a chimpanzee into your cells and then orders your cells to replicate under those orders using the virus to deliver the package,” he said.

One of the issues with Mr Jones’ remarks, of which Twitter users were quick to pan as potentially libellous, stems from his assertion that both vaccines contain replicating virus vectors, which they do not.

Dr Peter Hotez, a co-director of the Centre for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital and CNN contributor, debunked Mr Jones’ segment by first pointing out that AstraZeneca and J&J use “non replicating vectors”, which is also verified on each of their respective websites.

The second fact that Dr Hotez pointed to that further unravels the InfoWars host’s unverified claim was that J&J doesn’t use a chimpanzee adenovirus, which Jones falsely asserts throughout the show to be the cause of the recent monkeypox outbreak.

AstraZeneca does use ChAdOx1, which is a chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine vector. This vector, however, is “harmless” and was deemed most suitable by the Oxford/AstraZeneca research team for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine “as it has been shown to generate a strong immune response from one dose in other vaccines”.

“It has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to grow in humans,” according to the AstraZeneca website, which also “makes it safer to give to children, the elderly and anyone with a pre-existing condition such as diabetes”.

Chimpanzee adenoviral vectors are a very well-studied vaccine type and have been used safely in thousands of subjects.

This latest attempt to link a recent health news story to the Covid-19 vaccines is not a new trend. Earlier this month, for instance, anti-vaxxers were peddling the unfounded claim that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was responsible for a recent unexplained hepatitis outbreak in children in the US.

Medical experts were quickly able to dismiss this theory, not only because the strain of adenovirus used in the J&J jab was a different strain than the one being detected in the hepatitis cases, but also because some of the children who have tested positive from this recent outbreak had not received any vaccination for Covid-19.

Monkeypox infections have historically only been recorded in people who either reside or who have visited central or West Africa. Cases have now been detected in the US, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Italy and Sweden, with most of the cases being found in young men who had no previous travel records to Africa.

There have been no deaths so far reported with this recent outbreak and most cases remain mild with most people seeing full recovery within a few weeks. Depending on the strain, cases can become deadly.

The European Centre for Disease and Prevention Control (ECDC) has said that the West African clade, the type that has so far been documented in Europe, has a case fatality rate of 3.6 per cent.

For children, young adults and immunocompromised individuals, the mortality rate can be higher.

The Independent reached out to InfoWars’ media team for comment on the recent episode.

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