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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke September 20, 2023

Did you get a COVID-19 vaccine? Good news: You’re still a human

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As the updated COVID-19 vaccine continues to draw attention, old claims about the supposed consequences of getting a shot are again spreading on social media. 

"People who took the jab are technically ‘non human species,’" reads a Sept. 16 Instagram post.

Several screenshots of text in the post appear to make the case for this claim.  

The first is from a Wikipedia entry for the phrase "non-human." It says: "Non-human … is any entity displaying some, but not enough, human characteristics to be considered a human. The term has been used in a variety of contexts and may refer to objects that have been developed with human intelligence, such as robots or vehicles."

The second, third and fourth screenshots are from a summary of a 2013 Supreme Court case about whether a copied and modified gene sequence used in a test for certain types of breast cancer genes could be patented. One line in the post's text is underlined in red, "cDNA is patent-eligible because it is not naturally occuring." 

"Altered transcriptions of DNA renders the said subject an altered species, no longer technically ‘human’ by legal standards," the post's caption said. 

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It 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.)

The post appears to be making the unfounded argument that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines alter their DNA, ergo people who receive mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can be legally patented and lose their human rights.  

Lara Cartwright-Smith, who co-directs George Washington University’s Health Information & Law project, told PolitiFact there’s no basis for the post’s claim. 

As we’ve previously reported, the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines don’t alter an individual’s DNA.

"Legally," Cartwright-Smith said in an email, "the human genome and anything else found in nature cannot be patented."  

We rate this post Pants on Fire!


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Did you get a COVID-19 vaccine? Good news: You’re still a human

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