Texan doctor baselessly claims that the mRNA vaccines aren’t actually vaccines at all

30-Mar-2021 2:40 PM EDT, by Newswise

Fact Check By: Craig Jones, Newswise

Truthfulness: False


The so-called COVID-19 vaccine does not provide any individual who receives the vaccine with immunity to COVID-19, nor does it prevent the spread of the disease. It does not meet the CDC’s own definition of a vaccine...

Claim Publisher and Date: Dr. Steven Hotze on 2021-02-26

Dr. Steven Hotze, a doctor in Texas, claims the vaccines don’t provide protection and that they’re actually “experimental gene therapy" in video shared thousands of times on social media. Since the FDA-approved "COVID-19 vaccines" are mRNA-based, he claims they aren't vaccines but "experimental gene therapy designed to minimize your symptoms if you were to be infected with the COVID-19 virus." Dr. Hotze also claims the mRNA vaccines are dangerous and "poses a much greater danger to your health than COVID-19 itself." We rate these claims as false. The approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for COVID-19 have been through systematic trials and have prooven to be effective in protecting one from the illness caused by the SARS-COV2 virus. Clinical trial data from hundreds of thousands of people show that these vaccines prevent serious disease and death due to COVID-19.

As for the safety concerns, the mRNA vaccines have been tested on nonhumanprimates and on humans, and have been proven to be safe and effective, according to the CDC.

Some sources on Newswise on this topic...

  • On the claim that the mRNA vaccines are "gene therapy" 
    Gene therapy implies The use of DNA which stays in the body and can incorporate into chromosomes. RNA doesn’t do that. The RNA in the vaccines wouldn’t be converted into DNA because the enzymes capable of doing that aren’t present. Moreover, the RNA is not stable enough to hang around and is rapidly degraded. (See: See COVID vaccines aren't 'gene therapy')

    Donald Forthal, UCI Professor of Medicine and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine

  • On the effectiveness of the approved mRNA vaccines

    mRNA vaccines are around 95% effective at preventing severe disease and around 75% for mild to moderate disease. (See: See: Your Questions, Answered: Examining Mistrust and Vaccines

    Dr. David "Davey" Smith, head of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health

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