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Debunked: No, this poster claiming the HSE will void your vaccine passport without boosters is not real

A fake vaccine poster claiming to be authorised by the HSE has proved to be fake.

THE HSE HAS confirmed a poster with official government logos warning the public to get multiple ‘ongoing’ vaccine boosters to maintain ‘privileges’ is a fake. 

Branded in the HSE logo and using similar design elements to the official HSE Covid-19 advice, the posters claimed ‘To protect our vunerable [sic] community this winter it is vital we play our part. Please come forward to receieve [sic] your Covid 19 booster”

The false public health advice went on to warn ‘that failure to keep your vaccinations up to date on an ongoing basis’ would void vaccine passports.

ffkhu4_xea4weoe The poster confirmed as fake by the HSE with misleading vaccine advice. Source: Twitter

“Privileges will be granted to fully vaccinated people only,” the Covid-19 ‘alert’ advised. Along the bottom of the poster, six vaccine icons appear with two ticked off, indicating four more to go. 

A HSE spokesperson told The Journal ‘the information included on the poster was not authorised or published by the HSE.’ 

While the poster ‘used the government Covid brand’ the Health Service Executive confirmed ‘this is false collateral.’ 

However, the poster and its false information had already spread across several social media platforms. 

One Twitter user, Ivor Cummins, an engineer sceptical of masks and lockdown, tweeted a photo of the poster to his 149.1k followers last Friday before it was taken down for “violating Twitter rules”. 

By Sunday, prominent Canadian right wing publisher Ezra Levant had tweeted the same photo to his 288k followers with the caption, “It really is like those coffee shop cards you get stamped – five coffees, get the sixth free.”

Screenshot 2021-11-29 at 16.53.58 Ezra Levant's tweet 28 November 2021 Source: Twitter @

On Facebook a screenshot of Levant’s tweet was shared by 10 prominent groups and pages including a former Canadian foreign minister, drumming up over 2,500 interactions with the fake poster. The false booster claims were translated into Italian, Polish and Romanian. 

While the location of the poster in the original Twitter and Facebook post is unknown, a video posted on 28 November from a Twitter account named ‘accountability101’  showed a copy of a poster on a doctor’s office window in Swords. The video was titled  ‘For all the doubters as to the authenticity of these posters.’ However, the fake Covid ‘alert’ appeared to be stuck on the outside of the health clinic’s windows unlike signs with the clinic’s logos which were placed inside the glass. 

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The poster which uses the official HSE background and logos at the bottom was likely created from freely available digital assets the health service posted on its website. 

Red flags

There are some visual giveaways indicating the poster isn’t legitimate. Aside from the obvious spelling mistakes (vunerable, receieve), the poster features a needle icon never seen before on other HSE information material. In the top right corner next to a symbol of the virus the word ‘ALERT’ is seen. The HSE has not issued posters with this symbol and ‘ALERT’ in this type of font. 

Another fake HSE poster with the same ‘ALERT’ text box was debunked by AFP Malaysia’s Fact Check unit back in October. That poster warned vaccine recipients of ‘rare side effects’ including ‘headaches, menstrual irregularities, bell’s palsy, blood clots, heart attacks, strokes’ and ‘sudden death.’ 

According to AFP, the poster was translated into ThaiMalaysian, Arabic and Portuguese on Facebook. 

While it is unclear who is responsible for the posters, in both cases the information was found to be misleading. The Journal has reached out to Gardai to check if creating a fake document purporting to be from an official government agency could amount to forgery offence under the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences Act) 2001. 

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.

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