Fact Check
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Viral tweet selectively quotes Reuters headline and misleads readers about COVID-19 vaccine efficacy

August 6, 2021


The Insider Paper Twitter account posted a headline implying the vaccinated in Singapore are not protected from COVID-19


This is misleading. The headline omits a key detail from the original Reuters article it quotes, such that those who do not read the full article may think it is pointless to be vaccinated.


A misleading claim made by Twitter account and blog, The Insider Paper, about vaccinations in Singapore have gone viral.

Faqcheck Lab looked at the details of the post and found that there was a high likelihood it was attempting to spread disinformation.


The post in question, which was published on 23 July, 2021, misquoted a Reuters article on the rise of COVID-19 infections among vaccinated Singaporeans. However, even though the tweet by The Insider Paper “cited” its source, it omitted a key detail in the original headline: that only a “few fall ill”.

The post is misleading and promotes vaccine hesitancy among its readers.

Original Reuters article headline vs misleading headline used by The Insider Paper. Note missing detail.

At the time of writing, it had attracted nearly 9,000 engagements on Twitter. Retweets from accounts with large followings further amplified its reach.

A number of comments and retweets saw users questioning the efficacy of vaccines and urging people not to be vaccinated.

The post also failed to provide a link to the original Reuters source it was supposedly citing. Instead, it used a Twitter thread to link back to a version of the original article in its own website, which carried the same misleading headline.

Mass Disinformation

The Insider Paper’s headline, by omitting the key detail that “few fall ill” among the vaccinated, has implied that vaccines are pointless against COVID-19. This misrepresents how the vaccines actually work.

The tweet also fails to clarify two major facts detailed in the full report, as pointed out by a number of comments responding to it.

First, the Reuters report clarifies that as the number of vaccinated Singaporeans increases, the likelihood of vaccinated people being infected grows as well.

"It is important to always compare it against the proportion of people who remain unvaccinated...Suppose Singapore achieves a rate of 100% fully vaccinated...then all infections will stem from the vaccinated people and none from the unvaccinated."

- Teo Yik Ying, dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Second, the misleading headline implies that those vaccinated are not safe from the dangerous effects of COVID-19 infections. Once again, the full report cautions against such sentiments. It cites the Ministry of Health in Singapore, which revealed that of those requiring oxygen and in intensive care, “none of the eight had been fully vaccinated”.

This is in line with a recent check where Faqcheck Lab spoke to medical consultant and researcher Dr Amar Singh HSS. He explained that while no vaccine is 100% effective in stopping a virus, “many who are vaccinated do not get the illness compared to unvaccinated persons, hence they have immunity”.

Globally, other reports reiterate that the biggest victims of the COVID-19 pandemic are the unvaccinated. They warn of an impending “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. [AP, The Guardian, The Star, Gulf News]


Headlines are meant to capture readers’ attention. Today, many organisations design sensational headlines as clickbaits. This creates greater opportunities for disinformation actors to manipulate them.

In such cases, readers need to go beyond the headlines to understand the full context of the information provided in the article.

Provide feedback to news organisations if you feel their headlines are misleading, and always seek the source of claim from third-party “news” outlets. Many such outlets simply aggregate content from actual news organisations, sometimes edited to pass off as their own.

These steps are easy to implement, and can save you from becoming a victim of disinformation.

*Editor's note: A previous version of this report had a paragraph saying that Faqcheck Lab spoke to three national security experts for this report. This is incorrect. The paragraph came from a previous unrelated article and was accidentally included. We apologise for the error.*


Xiamen University Malaysia: Siew Tong En, Liu Zihan, Sean Elijah Tan & Dr Jeyasushma A/P Veeriah

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