Fact Check-COVID-19 public health measures do not violate Nuremberg code, COVID-19 vaccines are not experimental

Social media users are mentioning the Nuremberg code, a set of medical experimentation guidelines set after World War Two, and falsely claiming that public health measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic violate the code as the vaccine is experimental.

An example can be seen here with the caption: “I regret to inform you that our "representatives" have failed us.

It is our duty to know our rights and hold these tyrants accountable!#Nuremberg2.0”

The post lists key points under the words “Nuremberg Code”, including “Voluntary informed consent,” “Fruitful result for the good of society,” and “Participants may freely end the experimentation.”

Comments on the post include: “They’ve failed all!!! Bring on the trials”, I said this when this mandate started! This goes against the Nuremberg Code!” and “The Nuremberg Military Tribunals- Permissable Medical Experiments. The Great Awakening has begun. BRING ON THE TRIALS.”

The post does not mention specific public health measures.

Reuters has previously debunked the claim that mask mandates are a violation of the Nuremberg Code, here .

Vaccine mandates, like mask mandates, are a public health measure put in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The 1947 Nuremberg Code refers to the ten principles listed in the “Permissible Medical Experiments” section of volume II of the Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, seen here and here .

The Nuremberg Code requires that human participants in experiments give informed consent and was adopted as part of the 1949 Geneva Conventions (here ), so breaking the code would constitute a war crime (here ).

The COVID-19 vaccines are not human medical experiments. On Aug 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (here). Moderna’s vaccine has been approved for emergency use since Dec. 18, 2020 (here) and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine since Feb. 27, 2021 (here).

The vaccines underwent extensive testing before being offered to the population.

Pfizer/BioNTech’s phase three trial began in late July 2020 and the results were published in December 2020 (here ). The trial enrolled 46,331 participants at 153 sites around the world in Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and the United States, according to Pfizer’s website (here ).

Johnson & Johnson recruited 44,325 people for its phase three clinical trial between September 2020 and January 2021 (here , here ), while Moderna had 30,420 volunteers for the same phase of testing between July and October 2020 (here).

Reuters has previously debunked claims that the COVID-19 vaccines are experimental, here and here .


Missing context. The Nuremberg Code is specific to medical experiments on humans and does not apply to public health measures such as vaccine mandates, as the COVID-19 vaccine is not experimental.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .