Fact check: A vaccine did not turn characters in the movie ‘I Am Legend’ into zombies 

Social media users have been sharing content online that claims characters in the movie “I Am Legend” starring actor Will Smith turned into zombies because of a vaccine. This claim is false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Examples can be seen  here  and  here  .  

One post reads: “Remember, in I Am Legend, the sickness didn’t make the zombies. The vaccination did.”

The posts are being shared after the United States authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 11, 2020. (here) Reuters tallies show the virus has infected more than 73.5 million and killed more than 1.65 million people worldwide (here). 

The 2007 film “I Am Legend” is a sci-fi action movie where scientist Robert Neville (played by Smith) believes he may be the sole survivor in a plague that kills most people and transforms others into zombie-like creatures (  ,  here  ). Throughout the movie, he is battling to find other survivors and find a cure.  

The film starts with a scene where a fictional news anchor is interviewing the character Dr. Alice Krippin, who has cured 10,009 cancer patients with a genetically engineered measles virus. A transcript of the movie is visible  here  .  

Krippin says during this interview scene: “In this case the measles virus which has been engineered at a genetic level to be helpful rather than harmful. I find the best way to describe it is if you can imagine your body as a highway, and you picture the virus as a very fast car being driven by a very bad man. Imagine the damage that car could cause. Then if you replace that man with a cop, that picture changes. And that’s essentially what we’ve done.”

This genetically engineered measles virus is the reason for the plague and the zombie-like creatures in the fictional film. It was not a vaccination but a modified virus used to treat cancer  (cancer is not caused by a virus, as can be read in more detail in a Reuters Fact Check  here  ). 


False. The virus in “I am Legend” was a genetically engineered measles virus created to cure cancer, not a vaccination.

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