A viral social media claim suggesting that New Zealand government is planning to introduce COVID-19 vaccine into the country's water supply has been found to be fake. The hoax is a result of a digitally altered fake image.
Despite the claim being baseless and false, the same was widely circulated among the social media users and anti-vaxxers.
Extreme Step Being Taken to Increase Vaccination Rate in the Country?
The image which emerged on the social media in January shows the screen grab of New Zealand Herald. The text and other elements were added to make it appear like the article was published by the outlet.
It also shows New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern alongside the picture of tap water being filled into a glass. The headline of the image reads: "Leaked emails expose Governments [sic] 'underhanded' vaccine plan."
The falsified also shows the headline along with a caption which reads, "The emails between Government officials and multiple local councils appear to discuss the possibility of introducing the covid vaccine into city water supplies in areas where the vaccination rates haven't reached 90%. Prime minister Jac..."
"I said it would be put into the water. The dictators in New Zealand want to put covid 'vaccine' in people's water supply. This is really messed up and evil if true," tweeted a user while sharing the viral image.
"This is actually criminal!!!" wrote an Instagram user.
"They want to exterminate as many people as possible, no matter what the costs will be. NWO has to go during the plan," read another tweet.
Here is the Truth
Debunking the claim being made in the viral image, AFP Fact Check reported that it was a doctored image and such an article was never published by New Zealand Herald.
Speaking to the outlet, the newspaper's managing editor Shayne Currie said it never ran the story shared online. "No such post -- or story -- was ever produced by the NZ Herald," said Currie.
Further, a spokesperson of the country's health ministry too denied the claim and said that it was completely false. "We encourage people to only go to trusted sources of information when seeking to find out more about the virus and the vaccine," the spokesperson told AFP.