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Fact check: The flu vaccine is not being used for depopulation

A post falsely claiming that the flu vaccine is being used for depopulation has been shared on Facebook.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

An example can be found here. The post includes an image of an information leaflet for Fluarix tetra, a flu vaccine.

The accompanying status says: “Vaccines are being used for depopulation. FACT. This year’s flu shot, 2020, contains a vaginal spermicide. Polysorbate 80 and Octoxynol 10 both cause infertility. Octoxynol strips the sperm and does not allow it to fertilize an egg. It is known as one of the most potent spermicides.”

This information is false. Vaccines only use ingredients they need to be as safe and effective as possible.

There are several types of injected flu vaccines and every year new versions are made because the virus changes over time. Polysorbate 80 and Octoxynol-10, when added to these vaccines, do not cause infertility.

John McCauley, Director of the Worldwide Influenza Centre at the Francis Crick Institute, told Reuters: “Polysorbate 80 is an inactive substance that helps the vaccine to be stabilised. It is not toxic.

“Octoxynol-10 is a compound that is used in some flu vaccines to help further inactivate and then disrupt the inactivated influenza virus used in the vaccines. It is safe.”

Oxford University’s Vaccine Knowledge Project provides a list of ingredients that commonly feature in flu vaccines and explains their purpose: here .

A spokesperson for the project told Reuters: “Many of the components in flu vaccines are found in all sorts of everyday items.” Its website says that while Polysorbate 80 is used in several vaccines, it is also a common food additive. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers information about the ingredients used in vaccines (here).

An expert group at the European Medicines Agency says that "polysorbates exposure via administration of therapeutic proteins and vaccines is very low (< 0.25 114 mg/kg) being below all thresholds apart from zero" (here) .

VERDICT

False. The flu vaccine is not being used for depopulation. Polysorbate 80 and Octoxynol-10 are safe ingredients delivered in very small doses in vaccines and do not cause infertility.

Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .

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