FACT CHECK: Did A Johns Hopkins Virologist Author This Statement About COVID-19 Vaccines?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims Johns Hopkins virologist Dr. James Kelly openly stated he had “never seen a vaccine” that “forced” mask-wearing and social distancing after inoculation.

Verdict: False

A Johns Hopkins Medicine spokesperson said the institution does not have any employees by that name. There is no evidence any virologist at the institution made such a remark.

Fact Check:

Social media users have been sharing an alleged quote from Kelly, dated Jan. 12, in regards to COVID-19 vaccines. The virologist purportedly makes several disparaging remarks about the impacts of the vaccine against COVID-19 in a social and virologic sense.

“I had never seen a vaccine that forced me to wear a mask and maintain my social distance, even when you are fully vaccinated,” Kelly allegedly said in part. “I had never heard of a vaccine that spreads the virus even after vaccination.”

Kelly then purportedly goes on to strongly disapprove of “rewards, discounts [and] incentives” being offered by several companies to encourage customers to get the vaccine. The virologist then supposedly attacks the social impacts of the COVID-19 vaccine, adding that “it will likely come to ‘It’s time for us to admit that we’ve been completely deceived'” by the vaccine.

There is no evidence a virologist from Johns Hopkins Medicine made these remarks. Check Your Fact did not find any news reports suggesting a virologist named James Kelly or anyone at Johns Hopkins made this statement. There is no mention of the alleged quote, or of any employee named James Kelly, on Johns Hopkins Medicine or the Johns Hopkins University websites.

“We do not have any active physician employees by the name of James Kelly,” Lisa Burgunder, a spokesperson for Johns Hopkins Medicine, told Check Your Fact in an email. (RELATED: Did Pfizer Scientists Warn Weekly COVID-19 Vaccinations May Be Needed To Prevent Lockdowns?)

There was a Dr. James Kelly who was “named associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical School” in 1985, according to The Baltimore Sun. Kelly died in February 2018 from complications of cancer, two years before the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic, the outlet reported.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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