Social media users are sharing a video from October 2019 and falsely claiming that it shows top U.S. infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci and others plotting a new influenza virus to enforce universal influenza vaccination.
The text in one post reads: “Video Emerges Where Fauci and Others are Plotting for ‘A New Avian Flu Virus’ to Enforce Universal Flu Vaccination Fauci admits that clinical trials take at least a decade.”
The posts include clips from a discussion at the Milken Institute between health experts that took place on Oct. 29, 2019.
The video can be seen on C-SPAN (here), with the description: “Health experts discussed the scientific and technological prospects of an effective universal influenza vaccine. Speakers included Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Margaret Hamburg, former FDA commissioner. Panelists discussed the need for more funding for research, better collaboration between the private and government sectors, advances in technology in flu research and the goal of a universal flu vaccine.”
The panelists do discuss mRNA vaccines and mention a potential virus from China, but there is no evidence that a new influenza virus was being created or planned by humans, and vaccine mandates were not mentioned in the discussion.
A “universal flu vaccine” would be effective against the different strains of the influenza virus that vary each year. Fauci has also discussed this before and after the discussion seen in the posts, here and here .
Reuters reported on research efforts towards a universal flu vaccine over a decade ago here .
The National Institutes of Health started a clinical trial of a universal influenza vaccine candidate on June 1, 2021, as seen here .
“So-called universal influenza vaccines are being developed and tested by many research groups and could one day eliminate the need for annual vaccination by generating long-lasting antibodies to protect against many existing or emergent influenza virus strains, including those not represented in the vaccine,” according to the press release.
Pfizer said on Sept. 27, 2021, that it had dosed the first patient in a trial testing a flu vaccine based on messenger RNA, the same technology used in the COVID-19 shots made by the U.S. drugmaker and BioNTech (here).
"The COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to deliver on the immense scientific opportunity of mRNA. Influenza remains an area where we see a need for vaccines," said Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer (here).
Representatives for Fauci did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.
False. This video circulating on social media is not evidence that Fauci and others were plotting a new influenza virus to enforce vaccine mandates.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
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