Twitter account spreading false link between covid vaccines and cancer is suspended

A Twitter account spreading a false link between Covid vaccines and cancer has been suspended.

Social media accounts have shared the false claim that there’s been a 20-fold spike in some kinds of cancer among patients who have been vaccinated for Covid-19.

The false assertion was pushed by a Twitter account going under the name Dr Afzal Niaz on 2 February last year, Reuters reported.

“WARNING TO ALL DOCTORS & DATA SCIENTISTS: I AM OBSERVING a massive spike in cancer,” the account posted. “I am warning that there is now 20 times the normal average of certain types of cancers ever since the ‘Operation Warp Speed’ Injections were first introduced.”

The account was suspended, but yet another account using the same name had previously claimed that New York University Langone hospital and other facilities in the city, in addition to Long Island, weren’t allowing newborns to leave the neonatal intensive care unit with unvaccinated parents.

NYU Langone Health tweeted: “In response to the false & completely unfounded post circulating on social media: NYU Langone DOES NOT prohibit a parent/guardian from taking a child home from the NICU due to their vaccination status—we vehemently discourage the spread of this inaccurate, harmful information.”

That account was also suspended.

Several users posted an article by LifeSite News published on 13 September 2021, stating “Idaho doctor reports a ‘20 times increase’ of cancer in vaccinated patients”.

The site was removed from Facebook in May of that year for not adhering to the platform’s coronavirus policies.

The website has been the subject of previous debunkings for earlier claims. The article on the site cites a video in which Dr Ryan Cole speaks about a spike in cancer.

Dr Cole states in the footage that he has seen a rise in herpes, shingles, mononucleosis, human papillomavirus, cervical biopsies and molluscum contagiosum.

“We’re literally weakening the immune system of these individuals,” he says. “Now, most concerning of all, is there is a pattern of these types of immune cells in the body that keep cancer in check. Well, since January 1, in the laboratory I’ve seen a 20 times increase of endometrial cancers over what I see in an annual basis. A 20 times increase. I’m not exaggerating at all.”

The Idaho Capital Sun reported in December 2021 that “the American Board of Pathology urged the Washington Medical Commission to consider the actions of Cole, who is licensed to practice in Washington and previously told the Idaho Capital Sun he prescribed medications including ivermectin to at least one patient in Washington, via telehealth”.

Earlier that same month, the local outlet reported that Dr Cole and his lab “Cole Diagnostics were removed from the St. Luke’s Health Partners network, a network of health care providers supporting 160,000 Idahoans”.

He has come under fire in the past for sharing misinformation about the pandemic, such as calling the vaccines “needle rape”.

Both claims that vaccines cause cancer or damage the immune system have been disproven.

In October 2021, Meedan’s Health Desk outlined that there’s nothing that connects vaccines to cancer or HIV.

The American Cancer Society has said that the pandemic is expected to lead to an increase in cancer deaths over the long term because of “delayed diagnoses; interruptions or alterations in potentially curative treatment; the possibility that some adults will abandon prior patterns of preventive care; and the expectation that millions of adults will remain unemployed and without health insurance”.

Immunology expert Dr Gigi Gronvall at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told Reuters that T cells don’t function as outlined by Dr Cole.

“If, and it’s a big if, he is seeing genuinely more cancer patients in a way that is statistically verifiable now, it is likely due to people putting off cancer and other medical screening during the last couple years,” Dr Gronvall said.

Infectious disease expert Dr Andrew Badley, the head of Mayo Clinic’s Covid-19 task force, told the news agency that the pandemic has prompted people to put off healthcare issues not deemed urgent, leading some diseases that could have been spotted earlier to be discovered at a later stage.

“Also, now that patients are re-engaging with the health care system, some are being diagnosed with illnesses that in many cases were not caught early,” he told Reuters. “Many of these are cancer diagnoses, as well as other severe diagnoses including neurologic disorders, cardiac disease and others.”

“There are no controlled studies which link these diagnoses to Sars-CoV2 infections, treatment of Covid-19 or to Covid-19 vaccines, and there is no reason to believe that these diagnoses are in any way associated with Covid-19 or with Covid-19 vaccines,” he added.

“The vaccines have been examined in millions upon millions of people at this point and there is zero evidence that there is any link to any kind of cancer,” Dr Gronvall said.

In November, Harvard Medical school shared a study that found benefits of the Covid-19 vaccines for people with cancer, much like a Stanford study did the following month.