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• COVID-19 vaccines did not fail in animal trials or result in deaths of the animals that were tested.
• COVID-19 vaccines do not alter a person’s DNA, as gene therapy does.
• Scientists cited in the video have spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
A lengthy video posted on TikTok that makes a host of unfounded claims about COVID-19 vaccines — all of which have been repeatedly debunked — originated with InfoWars, a website renowned for sowing conspiracy theories.
The viral video claims that COVID-19 vaccines "failed miserably" in animal trials and are "a type of gene therapy that several top scientists warn will kill you." It includes hashtags like #truthcomesout and #firefauci.
The video appeared on Facebook, where it was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
COVID-19 vaccines did not fail in animal trials or result in the death of the animals tested. The vaccines are not a form of gene therapy, which modifies a person’s genes to replace or fix mutations that lead to diseases. The scientists cited in the video have spread misinformation about the vaccines.
The footage is an excerpt from a longer video posted online Oct. 13 called "Kill Shot," by Greg Reese, an editor and producer for the website InfoWars, which has spread other vaccine misinformation. Most recently, InfoWars was in the news because its founder and host, Alex Jones, was found liable for defamation against the families of victims from the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which Jones has portrayed as a hoax.
In the TikTok video, a narrator says that 22 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, "We have all the information needed to paint a clear picture of what’s going on." The narrator then recites a laundry list of false claims about Dr. Anthony Fauci, PCR tests, the ingredients of vaccines and more.
The narrator says, "The COVID vaccines are not vaccines but rather highly controversial mRNA tech that failed miserably on its animal trials, a type of gene therapy that several top scientists warn will kill you," a statement that contains multiple falsehoods.
First, COVID-19 vaccines did not fail animal trials. Fact checkers have debunked this claim, noting that the two vaccines most widely used in the U.S. — Pfizer and Moderna — produced desirable outcomes in animal testing. Results from Moderna’s animal testing were published in the New England Journal of Medicine after monkeys had a robust immune response to the vaccine.
Animals also did not die during the vaccine trials. Full Fact reported that had any animals died, human trials that were running concurrently would have been halted, which they were not.
Next, COVID-19 vaccines are not a type of gene therapy; PolitiFact and others have reported that the claim is false. Gene therapy is a process of modifying genes to replace or fix mutations that lead to diseases, according to PolitiFact.
That’s different from mRNA vaccines, which send instructions to the body’s cells to make a piece of spike protein, which is also found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19, so that the immune system can respond to it.
Finally, the video’s narrator says "several top scientists warn" that the COVID-19 vaccines "will kill you," and names Dr. Ryan Cole and Dr. Nathan Thompson. Cole, who is licensed to practice medicine in several states and is under investigation by the Washington Medical Commission, falsely claimed in the spring that mRNA vaccines cause cancer and autoimmune diseases. He was rebuked by the author of the medical paper he cited as evidence for the claim.
The other doctor identified, Thompson, has claimed that COVID-19 vaccines weaken the immune system, which PolitiFact rated False.
A TikTok video posted on Facebook says COVID-19 vaccines "failed miserably" in animal trials and are "a type of gene therapy that several top scientists warn will kill you." The video originated on InfoWars, known for spreading conspiracy theories.
The vaccines did not fail in animal trials or result in the death of the animals tested.
COVID-19 vaccines are not a type of gene therapy, which involves modifying genes to replace or fix mutations that lead to diseases. The mRNA vaccines do not change a person’s genetic makeup and never enter the part of the cell that hosts DNA.
The scientists cited in the video have spread misinformation about the vaccines.
We rate this claim False.
Banned.video, "Kill Shot," Oct. 13, 2021
FactCheck.org, "Idaho Doctor Makes Baseless Claims About Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines," April 19, 2021
Full Fact, "Covid-19 vaccine did not kill every animal it was tested on," April 14, 2021
KTVB7, "Dr. Ryan Cole investigated by Washington Medical Commission," Oct. 20, 2021
New York Times, "Alex Jones and Infowars Content Is Removed From Apple, Facebook and YouTube," Aug. 6, 2018
NPR, "Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones ruled liable in Sandy Hook defamation case," Nov. 15, 2021
PolitiFact, "InfoWars," accessed Nov. 17, 2021
PolitiFact, Joe Rogan falsely says mRNA vaccines are ‘gene therapy,’" Aug. 31, 2021
PolitiFact, "No evidence that COVID-19 vaccines weaken the immune system," Oct. 7, 2021
PolitiFact, "Repeatedly debunked idea of "shedding" COVID-19 vaccines is still false," Nov. 8, 2021
PolitiFact, "Schools aren’t giving kids the COVID-19 vaccine without parental consent," Nov. 10, 2021
Reuters, "Fact Check-mRNA vaccines are distinct from gene therapy, which alters recipient’s genes," Aug. 10, 2021
The Journal.ie, "Debunked: No, Covid-19 vaccines didn't 'skip' or 'fail' animal trials," May 15, 2021
TikTok video, Nov. 14, 2021
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