Is Japan banning mRNA Covid vaccines?

By March 28, 2024 COVID-19, Vaccine

We saw posts circulating on social media claiming that Japan is banning mRNA Covid shots. These posts have garnered over 2 million views and received strong reactions in the comments and responses.

According to the claim, Japan has banned Covid mRNA shots for “public use” and called on other nations to do the same. The claim states that this decision was made after an official government study linked the vaccine to “soaring sudden deaths.”

Social media posts which make this claim attach an article that has the headline, “Japan Bans Covid Shots over Soaring Sudden Deaths.” It was posted on a website called and elaborates that the “official government study” showed that blood transfusions from vaccinated individuals can pose “severe medical risk” to unvaccinated recipients. It implies that the study is the reason for the ban on mRNA vaccinations.

However, the article neither names or links the study, nor does it provide citations beyond a note stating that their source is a platform called followed the trail to, which appears to be a news aggregator of right-wing articles from across the internet. The platform does not appear to generate any independent reporting of its own.We found the headline in the site’s news feed, which, in turn, links to another article on the site News Addicts. This article appears to be the original source of the claim and was posted on 24th March before making its way over to social media platforms in the following days.The article appears to have taken parts of this longer piece verbatim. However, this article also fails to provide any official evidence of any vaccine ban beyond stating it as fact in its opening sentence. Instead, it provides further context about the study – namely that is not a an “official government study” but instead funded by the “Japanese Society for Vaccine-related Complications and the Volunteer Medical Association,” which does not appear to be associated with the Japanese Government.

Despite the News Addict article presenting the study’s apparent findings as fact, a quick look at the linked “study” reveals that it is a recently uploaded review article on a pre-print platform.This means that article is not peer-reviewed, nor is it even a report of actual tests carried out to show “severe medical risk” from vaccinated individual’s blood transfusions as claimed. No study has been carried out, and the authors of the article merely review existing literature and offer proposals for “specific tests, testing methods, and regulations.” To cite this study as proof of any “findings” or “conclusions” in any way is, therefore, extremely inaccurate.

Closely following the trail from the social media claim posts reveals that none of the claims made in the articles and headline can be substantiated. We were unable to find any evidence of a vaccine ban in Japan – the only somewhat related piece of news being that Japan announced plans to end a programme providing free Covid-19 vaccinations by March 2024.However, the Japanese Health Ministry continues to recommend and provide access to mRNA Covid vaccines. We therefore give this claim a rating of False.

This case is an illustrative example of how a false claim can pass through numerous sites and platforms – with more information lost, omitted, or warped each time. This makes it difficult not only to trace the original source, but also to disprove it properly and clearly. In this case, despite the original article clearly making unsubstantiated claims and misrepresenting a review article, its headline was passed through different news sites before being widely shared and circulated on social media.

When faced with claims such as this which base themselves off a “study” without linking or properly describing it, it is important to recognise this as a red flag for mis/disinformation and attempt to find the original study before believing or sharing those claims.

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