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Fact Check-COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers did not avoid TV ads because of side effects; companies had to wait for full FDA approval

Social media users are falsely claiming that there are no television advertisements for the COVID-19 vaccines in the United States because the manufacturers are legally obligated to list the side effects. In reality, the companies had to wait for the vaccines to be granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to advertise.

Examples of posts making this claim can be seen here and here .

The text in the posts reads, “There are no TV commercials for the [vaccine emoji] in the US because by law they have to list the side effects. Fact Check That!”

The FDA lists on its website (here) the requirements for advertising drugs include featuring the name of the drug, "at least one FDA-approved use of the drug," and the most important risks associated with it. For broadcast ads, “they must include either every risk or provide enough sources for the audience to obtain the drug's prescribing information”.

CNBC reported in May this year (here) that former FDA commissioner Dr Robert Califf said that manufacturers are unable to promote products while under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Full approval meant “they can advertise on TV and promote their products under the watchful eye of the FDA,” he said.

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines are still under emergency use authorization while the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved by the FDA (here and here)

Pfizer/BioNTech is preparing to advertise its product, as reported here and here .

All three vaccines already have their side effects listed here , here and here .

VERDICT

False. The lack of COVID-19 advertisements on television are not due to the manufacturers not wanting to list the side effects. These are easily accessible online. Rather, the manufacturers needed to wait for full FDA approval.

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

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