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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman April 12, 2022

No, the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ‘HIV lipid wrappers’

If Your Time is short

  • None of the approved COVID-19 vaccines contain any HIV material. 

  • Lipids are fat molecules that encase and protect the mRNA in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. They have no relationship with HIV, experts said. 

Since the first COVID-19 vaccines became available to the public in late 2020, people have falsely claimed that all sorts of nefarious things are in them, including aluminum, graphene oxide and microchips.

Some even said that the shots contain strains of the HIV virus. We rated that Pants on Fire.  

Here’s a new one.

"There are HIV lipid wrappers in the jabs you shoved in your arms and the arms of your children. Does that at all upset (you)?" said an April 10 post shared on Facebook.

This isn’t accurate. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines that use lipids do not contain any live viruses. The ingredients for all the approved vaccines are published and none include any HIV material. 

The 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.)

Lipids are molecules such as fats or oils that aren’t soluble in water. In Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines, lipid nanoparticles encase and transport the mRNA — essentially acting as "tiny ‘delivery vehicles,’" according to one biotechnology company that helped develop them. 

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These molecules are used in both vaccines as a way to protect the mRNA that they surround, allowing it to enter cells.

"Covid mRNA vaccines are encased in lipid nanoparticles to ensure their delivery to cells … There is no relationship with HIV," said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health and Security.

The full lists of ingredients for all three vaccines approved for use in the U.S. — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — have been shared by manufacturers and do not include HIV in any form.

Pfizer also refuted the claim, telling PolitiFact in an email that its vaccine is "entirely synthetic" and does not contain "any live virus, either from SARS-CoV-2 or others."

Our ruling

A Facebook post claims that the COVID-19 vaccines contain "HIV lipid wrappers."

None of the approved COVID-19 vaccines contain any HIV material. Lipids are fat molecules that encase and protect the mRNA in Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines and have no relationship to HIV, experts said. 

We rate this claim Pants on Fire! 

Our Sources

Facebook post, April 10, 2022

PolitiFact, The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain aluminum, March 22, 2021 

PolitiFact, No evidence of ‘graphene oxide’ that’s ‘toxic’ in Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, July 8, 2021 

PolitiFact, No, these magnet videos don’t prove the COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips, May 17, 2021 

PolitiFact, COVID-19 vaccines do not contain HIV, Feb. 14, 2022  

U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Comirnaty and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Updated March 29, 2022

U.S. Food & Drug Administration,  VACCINE INFORMATION FOR MODERNA COVID-19 VACCINE,  Updated March 29, 2022

U.S. Food & Drug Administration, THE JANSSEN COVID-19 VACCINE, Updated Jan. 31, 2022

Email interview, Pfizer media relations, April 11, 2022

Email interview, Amesh Adalja senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University, April 12, 2022

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No, the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ‘HIV lipid wrappers’

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