Does a video of a blank product insert inside a box of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine show anything unexpected or untoward? No, that's not true: The insert's front and back panels were intentionally left blank, according to the makers of the vaccine. There is a QR code, as well as a website, on the back of the box -- both of which guide people to updated fact sheets, which include lists of benefits, risks and vaccine ingredients.
The claim appeared in a video (archived here) published on BitChute on May 7, 2021. The post, titled "Completely blank package insert with a new box of J&J Vaccine. You have to see this," featured a video that showed a woman in what appears to be a pharmacy opening a new box of the J&J vaccine. She said:
I had to video it so that you'd believe me because, frankly, I didn't believe it myself.
Users on social media saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Imagine buying almost anything. Electronics, anything mechanical like a TV, Lawnmower, Blender anything and the entire instructions and cautions being blank. Check this out. It speaks volumes for itself. Source: WelcometheEagle88 And you need to k...
The woman, who is not identified in the video, is wearing a white coat. She shows the camera what she says is a brand new box of the J&J vaccine, then opens it and unfolds a large sheet of paper found in the box with the vaccine. The woman notes:
All of the normal information that we would find in a package insert, like the ingredients, that would all be found right here on the package insert.
She unfolds the product insert, which is almost entirely blank, aside from what appear to be QR codes, a complex bar code that allows smartphone users to instantly call up a web page. The woman says:
Must be magic.
It's all blank, the whole thing except for this part. That's the only thing not blank. Are you kidding me?
Although she does not directly accuse vaccine makers of anything, the woman in the video is clearly implying that she thinks there is something unexpected, untoward -- or perhaps even nefarious -- about the fact that the insert was left blank.
That's not true.
Janssen's website has detailed descriptions and images of its COVID-19 vaccine labeling and packaging. It clearly states:
1 product insert per carton
Note: the front and back panels of this insert were intentionally left blank
Lead Stories contacted Janssen and Johnson & Johnson to ask about the video and why the insert panels are blank. A spokesperson at Janssen responded, explaining the reasoning behind the packaging. In an email to Lead Stories, dated May 10, 2021, the spokesperson wrote:
The package insert states that the front and back panels of the insert were intentionally left blank, with Fact Sheets made available electronically for the duration of FDA's Emergency Use Authorization. This process ensures vaccinators and consumers have the most up-to-date Fact Sheets available to them, with www.vaxcheck.jnj reflecting any revisions made in alignment with the FDA.
It's worth noting that there is also a QR code, as well as the abovementioned website, on the back of the box -- both of which guide people to find details on the Food And Drug Administration's emergency use authorization and updated fact sheets, which include lists of benefits, risks and vaccine ingredients. At the time of writing, May 7, 2021, the latest updates were effective as of April 23, 2021.
The vaccine fact sheets were available in seven languages and included the information the woman in the video identified as missing on the product insert. For example, the fact sheet for vaccine recipients and caregivers lists ingredients:
The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine includes the following ingredients: recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dihydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD), polysorbate-80, sodium chloride.
It recommends that people who have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine not get the shot.