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Merck Didn’t Say It’s Better to Fight COVID Than Get the Vaccine

We found that the claim was a misrepresentation of a statement from Merck.

Published
Fit-WebQoof
3 min read
Fact-Check on Coronavirus Vaccine: Viral messages claim that  Merck has said it is better to catch COVID-19 and recover naturally than it is to get vaccinated.
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Viral messages on the internet claim that pharmaceutical company Merck has said it is better to catch COVID-19 and recover naturally than it is to get vaccinated. However, we found that the claim is not true and it’s a misrepresentation of a statement from Merck.

CLAIM

The screenshot that one of the users shared said, “Merck Scraps Vaccine, Says Better to Catch COVID Virus and Recover”. The screenshot of the post was shared from a website called Principia Scientific International. The website contains multiple anti-vaccination posts and posts that question the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An archive of the post can be found <a href="https://perma.cc/BFQ9-8FTN">here</a>.
An archive of the post can be found here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)
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Similar posts were found on other anti-vaccination website and were shared by users on Facebook and Twitter.

An archive of the post can be found <a href="https://perma.cc/U2SX-ZNFV">here</a>.
An archive of the post can be found here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)
An archive of the post can be found <a href="https://perma.cc/3B4X-YMET">here</a>.
An archive of the post can be found here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)
An archive of the post can be found <a href="https://archive.is/Qp1eH">here</a>.
An archive of the post can be found here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)
An archive of the post can be found <a href="https://archive.is/09mpZ">here</a>.
An archive of the post can be found here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)
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WHAT WE FOUND OUT

We looked for a statement attributed to Merck with these specific claims, but could not find any. We then came across a recent statement from Merck published on 25 January, where they announced that they were dropping research on V590 and V591 - two candidate vaccines for COVID-19 - and will be focussing on therapeutics.

“This decision follows Merck’s review of findings from Phase 1 clinical studies for the vaccines. In these studies, both V590 and V591 were generally well-tolerated, but the immune responses were inferior to those seen following natural infection and those reported for other SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccines, ” they said in the statement.

Merck’s statement said that the immune response generated by their vaccine was not greater than ones after a natural infection. They did say in their statement that other vaccines have generated a stronger immune response. Merck did not advise against taking COVID-19 vaccines.

Therefore, a statement made by Merck was misrepresented to falsely claim that the pharmaceutical company said it is better to catch COVID-19 and recover naturally than it is to get vaccinated.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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