Social media users have been sharing a video that makes a series of false claims about mRNA vaccines developed to combat COVID-19. These include assertions that mRNA vaccines are not technically vaccines, that they were developed to control the population and that they have never been tested.
Posts sharing the clip can be seen (here) and (here), and feature a man making the unsubstantiated claims. He also says he is situated in Israel, which has so far given 53% of its population of 9 million at least one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech shot (here).
“This is not a vaccine in the truest international medical definition,” the man says. “This is a synthetic drug, it hasn’t been tested, it hasn’t been tried.” (timecode - 1.10).
He then goes on to claim that the vaccine was created for the purpose of “population control,” adding: “The religious say that this vaccine is from God. No, it’s from Bill Gates, it’s from the World Economic Forum. Their goal is, Bill Gates, if you study his whole history, he is about population control.” (timecode – 3.55)
The first claim, that the mRNA COVID vaccine is not a vaccine, has already been debunked by Reuters. This is because vaccines, despite their differing types, all broadly follow the same definition (here).
For instance, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that a vaccine is a product that stimulates the immune system into producing immunity to a disease, which ultimately protects the person from that disease (here). This is also how mRNA vaccines work, albeit in a different way than has been seen before.
Traditionally, vaccines often use a weakened or inactivated form of a virus that, when injected, prompt the immune system to react. However, the mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 generates the same response by instructing cells inside the body to create the protein that surrounds the virus themselves (here).
Secondly, it is not true to say the Pfizer-developed vaccine is untested. Phase three clinical trials began in July 2020 and involved more than 40,000 people at 153 sites around the world in Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and the United States. Around 50% were given a placebo. Results published in December said the vaccine had 95% efficacy after both doses had been administered (here).
Reuters has also fact-checked previous claims about vaccine safety (here) (here) and (here).
Finally, it is not true to say the vaccine was created for the purpose of “population control” – or depopulation. In fact, the opposite is true, as vaccines are ultimately developed to prevent serious illness and death.
Bill Gates has previously been linked to misinformation about population control (here), and as this check explains in more detail (here), many of these theories stem from a misinterpretation of a section of a speech he gave at a TED conference in 2010.
False. The mRNA vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, which has been administered to more than half of Israel’s population, underwent rigorous testing before it was approved for use. The aim of vaccinating people against COVID-19 is also to prevent the spread of the virus, not for population control.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.
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