Image does not show Slovenian nurse revealing 'vaccine bottle code during resignation speech'

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Social media users worldwide claim the head nurse at a Slovenian medical centre resigned after revealing a secret "code" on Covid-19 vaccine vials proving some people receive doses that will "cause cancer". This is false. AFP found the head nurse at the medical centre did not resign, and the "code" pictured in the posts does not relate to types of Covid-19 vaccines.

The claim was widely shared alongside an image of the purported nurse in Serbia, New Zealand, Australia, the US, the Philippines and Canada.

The posts refer to the alleged resignation of the head nurse at the University Medical Centre in Ljubljana (UKCL) over a purported vaccination scandal.

The image's caption reads: "The head nurse of the University Medical Center in Ljubljana, which takes care of receiving the vaccine bottles, resigned today.

"She went in front of the cameras and took out some vaccine bottles. She showed people the codes on the bottles -- where each contains 1, 2 or 3 digits of code -- and then explained the meaning of those numbers.

"Number 1 is placebo, saline. Number 2 is mRNA. Number 3 is mRNA and oncogene, a mutated gene that triggers the development of cancer. People who receive it will develop soft tissue cancer within two years."

Screenshot of the false post taken August 25, 2022

The image -- a screenshot of a video -- has been captioned: "The medical profession on the corona crisis". It claims the source is Osma Generacija, a blogger based in Slovenia.

AFP Belgrade previously debunked similar posts in Serbian language after they circulated in November 2021.

The local police and Slovenian media outlet 24ur.com also labelled the original video as misinformation.

Nurse resignation claim

AFP Belgrade identified the woman pictured in the posts as Vera Kanalec, who, according to a spokesperson for the centre, has never worked as the head nurse at UKCL.

"We deny this story and all interpretations of it," the spokesperson said. "The lady in the video you refer to is NOT a head nurse at UKCL.

"The lady in the video is NOT employed by UKCL and to our knowledge never has been. The event never happened in our facilities. UKCL and its leadership (including Head Nurse Zdenka Mrak, MSc) strongly support vaccination as the most effective way to prevent the further spread of Covid-19."

The actual head nurse of UKCL is Zdenka Mrak, as stated on the institution's website and in this article published before the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this article published in May 2018, it states that Mrak became the head nurse of UKCL following nurse Nevenka Brolich's retirement.

Misrepresented video

The original video, which was uploaded to YouTube on November 20, 2021, was removed from the platform for "violating community standards" six days after it was posted.

In the now-deleted clip, Kanalec did not show vaccine bottles, nor did she claim to administer Covid-19 vaccinations. She also did not claim she worked at UKCL or announce her resignation.

The "code" she mentioned in the clip refers to a Unique Vaccination Certificate (UVC) that is used in European Union (EU) countries and serves as proof of vaccination against Covid-19.

Kanalec did not claim bottles featuring the number 3 contain mRNA vaccines and oncogene, a gene that can cause cancer.

She said Covid certificates featuring the number 1 meant recipients had received a "placebo" but she did not mention what the numbers 2 or 3 refer to.

After being contacted by AFP in December last year, Kanalec declined to provide details about how she obtained this information.

The number on a person's EU Covid Certificate is not linked to the type of vaccine received, but instead relates to each vaccinated person's unique certificate number, according to these EU guidelines.

"The Unique Vaccination Certificate/assertion identifier (UVCI) will follow a common structure that will enable human- or machine-interpretability in all Member States and is designed for the Internet," the document explains.

The general requirements are that the version prefix (of UVCI) follows the country prefix: in this case SI for Slovenia.

Jab safety

AFP has previously debunked similar false claims that Covid-19 vaccines cause cancer and that vaccines can alter a person's DNA.

Six types of Covid vaccines have been approved by the EU as of August 25, 2022.

Oncogene is not mentioned in the ingredients list for any of these vaccines.

The list of ingredients was published here for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; here for Moderna; here for Johnson & Johnson; here for Valneva; here for Nuvaxovid and here for AstraZeneca.

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COVID-19 VACCINES