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There is no scientific data showing that spike proteins produced from COVID-19 vaccination are toxic, a Food and Drug Administration spokesperson said. Rigorous testing and safety monitoring have found that the vaccines are safe and effective.
Since COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, anti-vaccine proponents have promoted baseless "vaccine detox" methods on social media.
An Instagram reel shared July 28 claimed people who regretted getting vaccinated could reverse its effects.
In the reel, Australian comedian James Donald Forbes McCann does a standup routine about how he wishes he hadn’t been vaccinated against COVID-19. Text on the reel says, "Do you REGRET Getting it? If you did, talk to me about getting your body detoxed from it."
The caption says, "Please comment below and let me give you some information about detoxifying your body from the spike protein."
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
For years, anti-vaccine proponents on social media have promoted baseless methods for "detoxing" from the COVID-19 vaccine, including baths and diets. The Instagram reel does not specify which "detox" method it is promoting.
But COVID-19 vaccines do not introduce toxins into the body. And there is no scientific data showing that the spike protein vaccines produce is toxic or lingers with any toxicity in the body post-vaccination, a Food and Drug Administration spokesperson told PolitiFact.
Rigorous testing and safety monitoring have found the vaccines safe and effective.
"Coronaviruses, like the one that causes COVID-19, are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface, called spike proteins," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
The COVID-19 virus uses these spike proteins to bind to cells and cause infection.
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines use messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology to inoculate people against the virus. They contain neither the actual COVID-19 virus nor the spike protein.
After vaccination, the mRNA gives the body genetic instructions for producing copies of the spike protein, which are harmless. Then, the body breaks down the mRNA and it leaves the body as waste.
The spike proteins trigger the body’s immune response, sparking antibody production. This helps the body recognize and fight off the real COVID-19 virus in the event of future infection.
We rate the claim that people who received COVID-19 vaccines can "detoxify" their bodies from the spike protein False.
Instagram reel, July 28, 2023
Email exchange with Carly Pflaum, U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokesperson, Aug. 1, 2023
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "CDC COVID Data Tracker," May 11, 2023
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work," May 12, 2023
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "How mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Work," accessed July 31, 2023
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Ensuring COVID-19 Vaccine Safety in the US," Dec. 22, 2022
Yale Medicine, "Comparing the COVID-19 Vaccines: How Are They Different?," May 22, 2023
PolitiFact, "Claim that spike proteins will cause illness to spread like wildfires in kids is False," Nov. 2, 2021
PolitiFact, "Claim that children will be harmed by spike proteins from COVID-19 vaccines is false," Jan. 7, 2022
PolitiFact, "PolitiFact’s guide to commonly misunderstood vaccine terms, and how to talk about them," Nov. 23, 2021
PolitiFact, "No sign that the COVID-19 vaccines’ spike protein is toxic or ‘cytotoxic’," June 16, 2021
NBC News, "Covid vaccine holdouts are caving to mandates — then scrambling to 'undo' their shots," Nov. 12, 2021
AFP Fact Check, "Experts rubbish Covid vaccine 'detoxification' supplement," July 18, 2023
FactCheck.org, "Facebook Post Spreads Bogus Claim About 'Detox' After Vaccination," Nov. 23, 2021
Medical News Today, "Why you cannot 'detox' from COVID-19 vaccines," Dec. 2, 2021
USA Today, "Fact check: Proteins from COVID-19 vaccines aren't dangerous toxins," June 8, 2021
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