Was France’s President Macron’s Covid Jab Faked?

We came across the following claim on multiple internet sources, including some websites and the social media platforms Facebook and Reddit:

According to this article, which we found on the website informedchoiceaustralia.com, a French MP claimed that Macron and most ‘elites’ in France received fake Covid vaccines. In addition, he also claimed that he had suffered four heart surgeries after receiving his own genuine Covid-19 vaccine.

When we investigated the origins of these reports, we found that it traced back to an interview that the French politician Jean Lassalle had conducted with the media channel NTD Francais. The YouTube video of the interview has been viewed over 219,000 times since 9 October at the time of writing, and the Facebook upload of the video has been shared over 3,700 times since 11 October.

In the video titled ‘Tout est fait pour detruire notre civilisation’ (Everything is done to destroy our civilisation), Lassalle claims that he was not infected by Covid, but the Johnson & Johnson vaccine nearly killed him and deformed his heart, leading him to have had 4 operations since 3 January of this year.

He also claimed that he knew that Macron was not vaccinated and that most of his colleagues—other members of parliament (MPs)—were not vaccinated either.

The Heart of the Matter

Lassalle’s claims with regard to the effects of the Johnson vaccine cannot be verified, as he did not offer any evidence to substantiate his claims.

It is true that some mRNA vaccines can cause myocarditis or pericarditis, which are different conditions involving the inflammation of the heart. However, the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine uses a viral vector technology instead of mRNA.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been linked to a risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), which is a condition when a person experiences both blood clotting and low platelet counts.

However, this condition is not specific to the heart. The US Food and Drug Administration has determined that the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh the risks for most people and has paused delivery of the vaccine to those considered at risk. The risk of TTS is also rare, with about 3 cases for every million doses of the vaccine administered.

A Political Disease

Like Lassalle’s other claims, he does not offer any evidence to substantiate his claims that Macron and other French elites are receiving fake Covid jabs.

It is true that since the rollout of vaccines, fake vaccines have become an increasingly common phenomenon. An article on the World Economic Forum site indicates that criminals have begun counterfeiting Covid-19 vaccines and selling fake vaccines to unsuspecting individuals.

Fake Covid vaccination cards for use in the US were also being sold since last year according to NPR, and Huffpost reported that Italian police arrested a nurse earlier this year for faking Covid vaccinations so that those people could fraudulently receive health passes.

Unfounded speculation of politicians and celebrities receiving fake vaccines or pretending to receive vaccines has, however, been around for even longer. The Observers, a factchecking section of the France24 news network, debunked rumours that were circulating in 2020 of ‘retractable syringes’, ‘disappearing needles’ and politicians pretending to get Covid vaccinations.

It must be noted that the issue of vaccination has been heavily politicised in France. In January, Macron received heavy criticism from political opponents when using the vulgar slang term ‘emmerder’ (piss off) to say he wanted make life difficult for the unvaccinated while proposing a health pass for vaccinated individuals.

There is no proof that Lassalle’s claims are true, but they place him in direct opposition to the French president at a time when Lassalle appears to be in decline as a political force. Lassalle’s term as an MP in the French National Assembly expired in 21 June 2022, and as such, he does not currently hold elected office.

Lassalle contested the April 2022 French presidential elections under the banner of Resistons!, the party that he founded in 2016, but received only 3.13% of the vote. Lassalle is the only member of Resistons! to have won elections, and the party does not currently control any seats in local, national or European legislative bodies.

Macron claimed via Twitter to have been vaccinated on 31 May 2021, and the French investigative online newspaper Mediapart had claimed to have viewed health insurance data that showed his date of vaccination to have been 13 July instead, a discrepancy that Macron’s office put down to human error. Macron’s health pass data, which includes proof of vaccination, has also been leaked on a separate occasion. However, there is no evidence that Macron or French MPs had received fake jabs.

Due to the lack of evidence, the provenance of the claims plays a central role when assessing their veracity. NTD (New Tang Dynasty) is a New York-based media organisation founded by Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual movement and exiled dissident group. NTD has been assessed by the factcheck organisation Media Bias/Fact Check to promote conspiracy theories and propaganda. We previously reported another such rumour that emanated from the Falun Gong network that proved to be false.

Given the lack of corroboration from established sources with proven track records of factual reporting, the claim that President Macron received a fake Covid vaccination jab is likely false.

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