Friday, May 14, 2021

Fact Check

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No, there is no evidence that spending time around vaccinated people causes death or disease

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If Your Time is short

• The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines cannot affect people who are not vaccinated.

• There is no evidence the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility or pregnancy complications.

As COVID-19 vaccine distribution continues, so does the spread of online misinformation about purportedly serious side effects — not just for the people who are vaccinated, but also for the people who come near them.

“The Unvaccinated Beware, COVID-19 mRNA Shots Cause Death and Disease Through GMO Shedding,” reads the title of a nearly 15-minute video posted on Facebook.

The video is a screen recording of someone navigating between several articles while providing a voiceover. The video’s narrator reads through several anecdotal accounts of women experiencing out-of-the-ordinary menstrual cycles and pregnancy complications — including one death — after being around people who were vaccinated.

“There have been some fatalities from contact with the vaccinated,” the narrator says. “This does not mean hugging or kissing, necessarily. It means being in the same room, in the same elevator. It’s a dangerous time.”

These health problems and deaths were attributed to “shedding of the mRNA,” according to the video narrator.

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.)

This is not true. Being close to someone who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 cannot impact those who are unvaccinated.

There is no evidence that anyone has died because they were near someone who was vaccinated.

Other fact-checking organizations have also debunked the claims in the video.

And PolitiFact has debunked similar claims before. Recently, PolitiFact checked a claim about the vaccines affecting the fertility and menstrual cycles of unvaccinated individuals who were near vaccinated people and rated it False.

Experts say that there are no parts of the vaccines that can be passed on to unvaccinated people.

Dr. Kelly Moore, deputy director of the Immunization Action Coalition, said it is not possible that those who have received the COVID-19 vaccines are “shedding” materials that could cause unvaccinated individuals to experience side effects such as disease or death.

Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB-GYN who writes a New York Times column, wrote in a blog post: “An mRNA vaccine simply cannot affect other people. We don’t shed mRNA or spike proteins.”

Similarly, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Reuters: “There is no way for a COVID-19 vaccinated person to ‘shed vaccine.’”

Andrew Pollard, a professor of pediatric infection and immunity at the University of Oxford and a member of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told Full Fact that he couldn’t think of “any biologically plausible mechanism for shedding” any elements of the Pfizer-BioNTech Moderna vaccines after they’ve been administered.

In addition, there is no evidence the COVID-19 vaccines have been linked to infertility or to pregnancy complications.

Those who are pregnant, trying to conceive or would like to get pregnant someday can get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the CDC.

Our ruling

A Facebook video claims that people who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 should “beware” because being around people who have received the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines could cause “death and disease.”

There is no evidence anyone has died after being close to someone who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Experts say there is no way for people to shed mRNA or spike proteins after they’ve been vaccinated. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines cannot affect people who are not vaccinated.

We rate this claim False.

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