A health worker prepares a coronavirus vaccine at a pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinic operating at the MyLahore British Asian Kitchen in Bradford, West Yorkshire on December 23, 2021. ( AFP / Lindsey Parnaby)

UK govt rejects fake Covid vaccine injury poster shared on Facebook

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A screenshot of a poster about Covid-19 vaccines that was purportedly issued by the UK government is circulating on Facebook. It urges people to apply for compensation if they were not "made fully aware of the health risks" of the jab. However, the poster is a fabrication; a government spokesperson said it was not an official publication and used government logos "without knowledge or permission".

"Have you noticed your health declining since receiving the Covid-19 injection?" reads a screenshot of a poster shared on Facebook on May 11.

"If you weren't made fully aware of the health risks from the Covid 19-vaccines, you are entitled to compensation of £120,000."

The poster features the logos of Her Majesty's Government, which refers to the government of the United Kingdom, and the official government website gov.uk.

It also shows the website address for the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme, which compensates people who were severely disabled as a result of vaccination against certain diseases, including Covid-19.

A screenshot of the Facebook post taken on May 18, 2022.

The poster was also shared on Facebook here and here.

However, a UK government representative said it did not produce the poster.

"This is not a government-sanctioned poster or message and the UK government logo has been used without knowledge or permission," the spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care told AFP.

"This kind of misinformation about the vaccine causes harm and costs lives. The evidence is clear – vaccines are safe, effective and the best defence against Covid."

No such poster appears on a UK government website containing material promoting Covid-19 vaccination.

Furthermore, genuine UK government posters and pamphlets on the site bear the logo of the National Health Service (NHS).

A screenshot of the Public Health England website showing a genuine poster with the NHS logo, as of May 20, 2022.

AFP has debunked a wave of misinformation about Covid-19 vaccine safety, including misleading posters about side effects that were falsely attributed to government agencies in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

In the UK, the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme was enacted in 1979 and offers £120,000 ($150,000) to people who were "severely disabled" due to vaccination.

According to the scheme's eligibility criteria, "disabled" refers to "mental or physical disablement" and "severe disablement" means "at least 60% disabled".

It says an applicant's condition will be assessed based on medical evidence from doctors or hospitals that treated them.

Not being "made fully aware of the health risks from Covid-19 vaccines" is not one of the criteria considered as part of a claim.

Reports of serious side effects from Covid-19 vaccines are very rare, according to health authorities who point out that the benefits of vaccination outweigh potential risks.

In a written response to a question from a Scottish MP, health minister Maria Caulfield said on May 15 that claims for the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme were processed by the NHS before being passed on for independent medical assessment.

"As of 18 February 2022, no Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme claims relating to COVID-19 vaccines had been passed to an independent medical advisor for assessment," she said.