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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke October 13, 2021

No, this isn’t a picture of a parasite in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

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  • The Pfizer vaccine does not contain parasites. 
     
  • The director of clinical parasitology at the Mayo Clinic told us that the supposed image of a parasite in the vaccine that’s being shared on social media does not actually show a parasite. 
 

A grainy black-and-white image that’s being shared on social media is being described as a "Trypanosoma Parasite" that is composed of "carbon, oxygen, chromium, sulphur, aluminum, chloride and nitrogen." 

"A 50 micron elongated body is a sharp mysterious presence in the Pfizer vaccine," the post says. "It appears and is identified anatomically as a Trypanosoma cruzi parasite of which several variants are lethal and is one of many causes of acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS." 

This post 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.)

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 23 received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people 16 and older.  

A full list of ingredients in the vaccine is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, as well as a note that this vaccine and other COVID-19 vaccines contain no metals. 

The parasite in the post also isn’t listed. That’s because the post is baseless, experts told PolitiFact. 

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"First, the object shown here is non-specific," said Dr. Bobbi Pritt, director of clinical parasitology at the Mayo Clinic. "It is blurry, and likely represents an out-of-focus non-cellular component of the vaccine."

What’s more, she said, there’s no evidence of a parasite in the image. 

"The blurry object shown is not Trypanosoma cruzi or any other parasite," she said. 

As for the claim that this particular parasite causes AIDS, that’s also wrong, she said. 

"The only thing that causes AIDS is an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)," she said, "and this cannot be acquired through the Pfizer vaccine." 

We rate the post Pants on Fire!

 

Our Sources

Instagram post, Oct. 10, 2021

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 vaccines, visited Oct. 13, 2021

Food and Drug Administration, Comirnaty and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, visited Oct. 13, 2021

Email interview with Dr. Bobbi Pritt, clinical parasitology director, Mayo Clinic, Oct. 12, 2021

Email interview with Dr. David Boulware, professor of infectious disease and international medicine, University of Minnesota, Oct. 12, 2021

 

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No, this isn’t a picture of a parasite in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

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