False: People in Slovenia received mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 that will cause cancer.

By: Gayathri Loka
December 7 2022

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False: People in Slovenia received mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 that will cause cancer.


The Verdict False

No credible evidence suggests COVID-19 vaccines administered in Slovenia contain an oncogene. This claim stemmed from an anti-vax narrative.

Claim ID 5e56cb30


Several posts have been circulating on Facebook (and other social media platforms) displaying a screenshot of a woman from a video, along with a lengthy message claiming that she resigned from her post as head nurse at the University Medical Centre in Ljubljana (UKCL), a Slovenian medical center, after an alleged vaccine "scandal." The post claimed the nurse said that a secret "code" on vaccine vials proves some people received doses that cause cancer. She supposedly said that the vials for vaccines had codes with the digits 1, 2, or 3. "Number 1 is placebo, saline. Number 2 is mRNA. Number 3 is mRNA and oncogene, a mutated gene that triggers cancer development. People who receive it will develop soft tissue cancer within two years." 

Although the post explicitly does not mention the term COVID-19 in it, it has been widely shared within circles which promote narratives regarding the COVID-19 vaccines. Moreover, since mRNA-based vaccines have thus far only been approved for COVID-19, it is clear that the post is a reference to COVID-19 vaccines. The video from which the screenshot was taken can also be found on video platform Rumble (known for its hosting of COVID-19 misinformation), where it was posted in December 2021. The caption of the video there reads: "According to Slovenia media sources, the head nurse of the University Medical Center in Ljubljana has come out to claim that you have a one in three chance of receiving a "death" jab that will give you cancer if you take the covid-19 vaccine in that country."

However, the screenshots of this video are being presented on social media platforms and Telegram with a false narrative. 

In Fact

When we conducted a reverse image search for the screenshot, we were able to find the underlying video on Rumble. We also found that in August 2022, the Belgrade bureau of international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) had identified the woman in the video to be a retired health worker, Vera Kanalec.

As far back as November 22, 2021, in a Facebook post that continues to be visible to the public, Kanalec stated that fake information was circulating about her and that she had never posted any video discussing COVID-19 vaccines.

Logically searched the website of the Slovenian medical center UKCL and found that Kanalec is not listed as its head nurse, and never had been. The actual head nurse is Zdenka Mrak – Logically checked archived versions of the hospital's staff pages between 2019-2022 and found that Mrak was listed as the head nurse during each of these years. This means that Kanalec could not possibly have resigned as head nurse after the release of the mRNA vaccines.

AFP spoke to UKCL about the same claim and was told that the institute had never employed Kanalec and that such an event never happened in their facilities. "UKCL and its leadership (including Head Nurse Zdenka Mrak, MSc) strongly support vaccination as the most effective way to prevent the further spread of COVID-19," they told AFP. 

The video claiming to show Kanalec talking about the vaccines was published in July 2021 on YouTube but was later taken down, according to AFP. The agency archived and translated the video and found that it did not show Kanalec showing any vials of COVID-19 vaccines. As per their translation, she never claimed to be the head nurse of UKCL, did not talk about resigning, and did not mention administering COVID-19 vaccines. Kanalec did not say anything in the video about the bottles with the number 3 code containing mRNA vaccines and oncogenes. While AFP found that she did mention "codes," this was a reference to the codes for the "Unique Vaccination Certificate (UVC) that is used in European Union (EU) countries and serves as proof of vaccination against COVID-19."

Therefore, it is clear that the screenshot being circulated on Facebook is not of the head nurse of UKCL in Slovenia resigning and talking about cancer-causing vaccines. The video is of a retired health worker not employed by UKCL who has confirmed she was not speaking about this issue, as AFP have corroborated – and the claims in the social media posts doing the rounds are therefore evidently false..

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, "An oncogene is a mutated gene that has the potential to cause cancer. Before an oncogene becomes mutated, it is called a proto-oncogene, and it plays a role in regulating normal cell division." There are no credible scientific studies or reports that state mRNA COVID-19 vaccines change/mutate genetic material or cause cancer. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), mRNA COVID-19 vaccines carry the instructions for the synthesis of the spike protein of the virus, and once it performs its function, it is decomposed by special mechanisms of the cell. In August 2021, Logically explained that mRNA isn't the same as DNA, and it can't combine with our DNA to change our genetic code. It is also relatively fragile and will only remain inside a cell for about 72 hours before being degraded. 

This claim appears to stem from anti-vaccine narratives, several of which suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are harmful to take. Similar claims about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines causing cancer have been spread since the pandemic started. Logically and other organizations have debunked these claims as false and misleading. 

The Verdict 

There is no credible basis to claim that mRNA vaccines can cause cancer in recipients. Social media users promoting anti-vaccine narratives have repeatedly tried to use a screenshot from an unrelated video of a Slovenian health worker to claim she admitted this was happening, and had resigned as a result. However the nurse featured in the video has refuted this claim, and translations of the actual clips found that she never said anything about mRNA vaccines and cancer. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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