Fact check: Vaccines don’t cause infection, contrary to presidential bet’s claim

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Fact check: Vaccines donât cause infection, contrary to presidential betâs claim
Democratic Party of the Philippines standard bearer Jose Montemayor participates in the Commission on Elections' first presidential debate on March 19, 2022.
Philstar.com / Deejae Dumlao

MANILA, Philippines — Vaccines do not infect people, but only imitate infection to induce an immune response, contrary to a presidential candidate’s claim.

CLAIM: Democratic Party of the Philippines standard bearer Jose Montemayor claimed during the Commission on Elections’ first presidential debate that “vaccination will expose you to infection.”

RATING: This is false.

What was said

Montemayor was responding to a question related to improving the quality of work when he made the false claim that vaccines can infect people.

He went on a rant about vaccine cards, which are sometimes required to enter establishments, which he claimed lowers the motivation and morale of workers.

“You are always harassing 70 million Filipinos. You always look for that, when in fact vaccination itself will expose you to infection,” Montemayor said partly in Filipino.

What was left out

Vaccines do not infect people, but only imitate an infection which induces an immune response that creates immunity, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. This type of infection, however, almost never causes illness, but it does cause the immune system to produce T-lymphocytes and antibodies,” the US CDC said on its website.

T-lymphocytes and antibodies are types of cells that help the body fight off infections.

Essential context

It is not the first time that Montemayor made false or misleading claims about measures employed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The presidential candidate, who identifies himself as a doctor, lawyer and economist, has denigrated vaccines, the wearing of masks and COVID-19 testing methods.

Why did we fact-check this?

Montemayor was among the nine presidential candidates who participated in the Comelec’s first presidential debate that was carried live by several media outlets watched by thousands, if not millions, of Filipinos here and abroad.

His false claim about vaccinations could potentially instill fears among people and prevent them from getting life-saving inoculations, especially against COVID-19. — reviewed by Kristine Joy Patag and Franco Luna 


This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts

Philstar.com is also a founding partner of Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippines’ elections. It is an initiative of academe, civil society groups and media to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information.

Want to know more about our fact-checking initiative? Check our FAQs here.

Have a claim you want fact-checked? Reach out to us at [email protected]




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