Fact Check: mRNA Vaccine Technology Does NOT Have Catastrophic Side Effects, Including Death

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: mRNA Vaccine Technology Does NOT Have Catastrophic Side Effects, Including Death Shots Are Safe

Does messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology have catastrophic side effects, including death? No, that's not true: Health officials widely consider such technology to be safe and effective. Millions of people have gotten a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine and have not suffered catastrophic side effects. At the time of writing, the mRNA vaccination has not been causally linked to any deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The claim appeared in an Instagram post (archived here) published by "Dino Veletanlic" on June 21, 2021. A caption read: "It was never perfected. They know this and are still pushing it on the world. Use your own intuition. Nothing is right about 'Covid-19' or this jab." The post read:

mRNA technology has been around for decades. It had never gone past animal trials due to catastrophic side effects, including death. This technology was never 'fixed'. Now mankind is being pressured to take it, with assurances that it is safe and effective. That is bullshit.

Users saw this on social media at the time of writing:

The post is right about one thing: researchers have been working with mRNA vaccines for decades. They've been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV), according to the CDC, which describes mRNA vaccines as new, but not unknown.

The post is wrong about most everything else.

First, when it comes to science, no technology is "perfected." Processes change and are continuously refined as we learn more. Second, health officials widely consider mRNA vaccines to be safe and effective. Such vaccines -- specifically the ones made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech -- are some of the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. They were held to the same safety standards as other vaccines.

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work by teaching our cells how to make a protein, or part of a protein, that triggers an immune response. That response produces antibodies that, in turn, protect us from the real virus. When your body is responding to the vaccine, you may experience some side effects, such as fever, headache and chills. That's normal; serious side effects are rare, though they can happen.

To date, millions of people have gotten a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine and have not suffered catastrophic consequences. The vaccines have not been causally linked to any deaths, according to the CDC, which continues to monitor reports and recommends that people get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they become eligible.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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