coronavirus vaccine

Claim that the first person to receive the Covid-19 trial vaccine has died is False

News reports and a number of social media posts claimed that the first person to participate in the Oxford University trial testing a new coronavirus vaccine had died.

A news website called News NT published a story suggesting Dr Elisa Granato had died two days after being injected with a vaccine for Covid-19.

Claim that the first person to receive the Covid-19 trial vaccine has died is False 5

Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it to be False.


The article, published by News NT on 25 April and reposted by a number of others, claimed microbiologist Dr Elisa Granato had died from “complications” following her participation in the drug trial, and four others were seriously ill.

This is false.

The information was attributed to a statement from “the researchers”, which does not appear to exist. The quote attributed to the researchers appears only in articles about the alleged death.

Oxford University confirmed the information in the article was incorrect and Dr Granato remains alive and well.

This was also corroborated by BBC journalist Fergus Walsh, who said he had spoken to her on Sunday morning. The article was first published on Saturday.

Fact check: debunking myths about coronavirus

The website, News NT, has been found to post false stories before, including a claim that 21 million people had died from coronavirus in China. The author, James Alami, does not appear to have a digital presence outside this website.

The trial which Dr Granato took part in involves more than 800 people, half of which were injected with the Covid-19 vaccine and half with a control vaccine which is effective against meningitis, but not coronavirus. She took part in the trial on 23 April.

Ferret Fact Service verdict: False

This news article is not accurate. Oxford University has confirmed that the story was incorrect and Dr Granato remains alive and well.

This claim is false

We are trying to fact check as many claims about the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak as we can. If you see anything you think we should check please email us at

Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, working to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles. All the sources used in our checks are publicly available and the FFS fact-checking methodology can be viewed here. Want to suggest a fact check? Email us at, post it at or join our Facebook group.

  1. Please can you post a photo of her holding the daily paper, So the anti vaxers can be silenced on this one. Thanks

  2. Well ferreted, I hadn’t heard the fake news, but that’s the kind of thing that causes vaccine deniers to spread their contamination. Curiously similar to the behaviour of a virus. Perhaps it is time for an Jalam1 vaccine. Incidentally, as it might conceivably worry anyone who gets stressed by injections, that’s a slightly worrying picture of a syringe (over large) full of air (ideal opportunity for an air embolism) with a hypodermic needle or cannula (16g? way too big) . Don’t fret, I know it’s just a stock image, I’m just being picky.

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