A viral image on Facebook mistakenly suggests that a vaccine exists for the novel coronavirus by referring to a photo of a vaccine for a coronavirus that infects dogs. The two viruses are not the same.
Facebook users are posting a photo of a canine coronavirus vaccine to falsely suggest that there is a vaccine for the new coronavirus that is now infecting humans around the world.
“Now that was 2001, tell me why 19 years later they say there is no vaccine,” the text of the viral image read.
The image was shared in various corners of Facebook, including a dedicated QAnon conspiracy theory group. A popular post from one user claimed that a “THE CORONA VIRUS VACCINE HAS BEEN EXISTING SINCE 2001 ″ and “WE ARE PLAYED BY THOSE ON TOP”.
But the vaccine label in the photo clearly says “Canine Coronavirus Vaccine.”
Like other cases of disinformation that have emerged since the start of the epidemic, the publications advance a false claim centered on the term “coronavirus”. The term refers to a family of viruses, but not all are the same.
The novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2 – which causes COVID-19 – was first reported in China in late 2019.
The product in the viral photo is Nobivac 1-Cv, a vaccine sold by a subsidiary of Merck & Co. It protects dogs against canine coronavirus, or CCV, a virus that typically causes mild gastroenteritis, or inflammation of the intestines, in infected dogs. It was first identified in 1971.
As we wrote while debunking similar articles dealing with a vaccine for cows, experts say it is not safe for humans to attempt to vaccinate themselves with vaccines for animals.
Editor’s Note: FactCheck.org is one of many organizations work with facebook to demystify the disinformation shared on social networks. Our previous stories can be found here.
Fenner’s Veterinary Virology (Fifth Edition). “Chapter 24 – Coronaviridae. Academic press. 2017.
“Nobivac Canin 1-Cv.” Merck Animal Health. Accessed April 22, 2020.
“Q&A on the coronavirus pandemic. FactCheck.org. March 18, 2020.