Fact Check By: Craig Jones, Newswise

Truthfulness: Mostly False


Several shared Twitter posts: "Wait until they find out the the vaccine is obsolete with the new Covid strain coming over from England." "The vaccine might not even work, because of the new covid strain"

Claim Publisher and Date: Several shared Twitter posts on 2020-12-21

Hours after the United Kingdom raised alarm about the new variant of the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, social media, including Twitter, is brimming with theories on the timing of this news. Many people have remarked that the timing of this news coming on the heels of the roll out of the Pfizer vaccine is suspicious. For example, one user says, "The new strain of Covid will provide the cover for the coming vaccine deaths and side effects."

The truth is that the new variant was first discovered in September, much before the new vaccines were administered. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination began to be administered on December 8th. According to the UK government’s press release, the first case of the new variant "emerged in September 2020 and then circulated at very low levels in the population until mid-November." U.K. officials warn the new variant of the virus could be as high as 70% more contagious than the various strains already circulating. However, there's no evidence, so far, suggesting the new variant is more deadly. 

The vaccine being administered in the UK by Pfizer is an mRNA vaccine which does not contain a “live virus” and can not cause the disease in a vaccinated person. 

David Verhoeven, an assistant professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine at Iowa State University explains more about mRNA vaccines.

“The mRNA vaccines are a new class of vaccine that appears to work much better than the more traditional DNA vaccines,” Verhoeven said. “The mRNA vaccines induce both humoral and cellular immunity while the DNA only generates strong cellular immunity.”



Register for reporter access to contact details