TikTok anti-vaxxers allowed to spread bogus claims about Covid jab despite being reported to social site a YEAR ago

TIKTOK is allowing anti-vaxxers to spread deadly myths amid the Covid pandemic despite being warned about their content a year ago.

The social media giant is still hosting conspiracy theories from anti-vaccination fanatics claiming jabs are made from 'sacrificed baby humans' and murdered animals.

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TikTok removed a number of misleading anti-vax videos last February following a Sun investigation.

But the accounts remain active and continue to share claims vaccines are 'killing children' and ingredients used in Covid jabs can cause heart attacks and cancer.

One video flagged to TikTok last year of a young female claiming vaccines contain 'cocker spaniel kidney' and 'do not give you good health' remained live on the site until today.

The same user has since shared videos claiming vaccines are 'fraudulent science' and scientists are 'injuring and killing children'.

Another user Leini Ena, from Oregon, US, had a video removed last year claiming vaccines contain 'aborted fetuses'.

But she has since shared material claiming Polysorbate 80 – which is a non-active ingredient of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab – causes heart attacks and cancer.

The bogus claim appears to come from a disputed US study which alleged the compound, often used in food additives, could cause bowel cancer in mice.

NHS guidance states the mice had been fed volumes of the compound which would never be consumed by humans and were also given strong drugs both to cause cancer and trigger bowel inflammation.

Professor Thomas Sanders of King's College, London, told The Sun: "We can't assume this study is applicable to humans, so it shouldn't be cause for concern."

Covid vaccinations by Pfizer, Oxford university/AstraZeneca and Moderna have all been approved for use by Britain's medicines regulator, the MHRA, after around nine months of clinical trials.

The trials each saw the vaccines tested on around 10,000 volunteers to establish their safety.

Deputy Chief Medical officer Jonathan Van Tam has said Covid vaccines are "the only way out" of the pandemic and yesterday told Sun readers that 'tens of millions' of Brits would need to receive a jab before lockdown restrictions can be lifted.

NHS guidance states vaccines do not cause allergies or other medical conditions and do not contain ingredients which cause harm in such small amounts.

It also clarifies vaccines are made up of bacteria and cells used to grow it are unlikely to be present in the final vaccine.

Chinese-owned TikTok has already come under fire from MPs for allowing anti-vaxxer 'fanatics' to spread lies about the life-saving Covid jab.

A recent study suggested a third of social media users have seen conspiracy theories discouraging them from receiving a Covid jab on social media.

SNP politician John Nicolson grilled director Theo Bartram about high-profile influencer Olivia Madison, who told her 40,000 followers the shot is made from 'aborted foetuses'.

Mr Nicholson said: "[She is] very beautiful, and what she does is utterly wicked.

"If you can't sort out somebody with 606,000 [likes], what chances are there that you're going to get rid of the smaller fry?

"I mean this woman's just screaming lies as publicly as she possibly can, [in] very professionally produced videos."

TikTok later removed Ms Madison's account.

Anti-vax conspiracy theories shared on TikTok

There are a number of anti-vax conspiracy theories being widely shared on TikTok, some of these include:

Vaccinations cause autism

Controversial doctor Andrew Wakefield sparked national panic with a discredited 1998 paper in which he claimed a link between the childhood Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.

He was later struck off and Wakefield was declared fraudulent by the British Medical Journal in 2011.

Numerous studies have since established there is no link but conspiracy theories of a cover-up are popular among anti-vaxxers.

Vaccinations cause cancer

Vaccines can be used to prevent or potentially treat cancer.

There is no scientific link between vaccines and an increased risk of cancer but anti-vaxxers have been especially critical of the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer.

Scare stories on social media claim the vaccine has triggered the development cancer and severe reactions in thousands of girls and hundreds of deaths.

A review by the European Medicines Agency confirmed the fears as baseless.

Vaccinations are made from aborted phoetuses

In the US, some vaccinations – such as those for hepatitis and rabies – contain a minute amount of 'WI-38 cell line' which originates from human phoetuses.

But to claim the vaccines contain a significant amount of the cells is misleading, in reality it's no more than around a billionth of a gram.

You would find a similar level of human DNA present in a piece of fruit or vegetable.

The small amounts used mean scientists are able to continue to use the same cells obtained with permission in the 1960s.

TikTok has said it will ban "misinformation that could cause harm to an individual’s health or wider public safety".

Last year the site launched an in-app notice directing users towards the World Health Organisation website on posts shared with hashtags relating to the pandemic and vaccines.

However, videos shared without using hashtags are unlikely to contain the warning unless reported directly.

TikTok removed the videos after being contacted by The Sun.

The firm added it works proactively to remove bogus claims around vaccines and accounts identified to be dedicated to spreading misinformation.

A TikTok spokesperson said: "Our Community Guidelines set out what content is acceptable on TikTok, and make clear we do not allow scams or misinformation, including vaccine misinformation, which could cause harm to people on TikTok or the wider public.

"We use a combination of technology and human moderation to enforce our community guidelines, and if we find content that violates them then we will remove that content, and if necessary the account."

What is an anti-vaxxer?

AN anti-vaxxer is someone who either refuses to be vaccinated or allow their children to be vaccinated.

Since the pioneering work of Edward Jenner in the late 18th century on developing vaccines for smallpox, people have protested against the treatment for a variety of reasons.

Public debate around vaccine hesitancy has previously included issues relating to the safety of the treatment.

And ethical objections have been made on civil liberties grounds against mandatory vaccination programmes.

But anti-vaccination as an ideology is seen as contradicting the overwhelming medical and scientific consensus and has historically led to deaths from outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “We have set clear expectations of tech firms that they must play their part and act quickly to tackle mis- and disinformation on their platforms, and we will hold them to account for this."  

More than 80,000 people have died after testing positive for Covid in the UK since March and yesterday saw the worst daily death toll of the pandemic so far with 1,564 fatalities.

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