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Fact Check-The COVID-19 vaccine does not change recipients’ genetic makeup

A Facebook post referring to debunked theories around genetic modification has suggested vaccines could stop someone being human. This is false.

The post, containing a screenshot of a tweet, reads: “You took the (vaccine emoji) and didn’t die. Wonderful news. I didn’t take the (vaccine emoji) and I didn’t die either. Let’s pick this back up in several years, when I’m still human, and who knows what you are. That’s if you’re still alive.” (here)

The phrase ‘who knows what you are’ likely refers to a baseless claim that COVID-19 vaccines change your DNA or inject an operating system in the recipient’s body.

Confusion around this issue may have arisen from new mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which involve the injection of a small part of the virus’s genetic code (RNA) to stimulate immune response in a patient without an infection (here and here).

The mRNA from the vaccine does not alter the recipient’s DNA, is broken down shortly after vaccination, and does not stay in the body (here).

On its website, the pharmaceutical company Moderna compares the mRNA science in its vaccine to an “operating system” (here). However, the phrase is used in a metaphorical sense, not a literal one. According to Moderna, mRNA science is comparable to an operating system because it can be used to tackle multiple different diseases.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is described as a viral vector vaccine, which uses a modified virus to deliver the instructions into the recipients cells and trigger an immune response (here and bit.ly/2ZJbvRW).

COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and give the best protection against the novel coronavirus (here).

Reuters has debunked other misinformation surrounding the vaccine here , here , here , here , here and here .

VERDICT

False. COVID-19 vaccines do not change recipients’ DNA or turn them into non-humans.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .

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