Federal officials authorized two mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 after they were determined to be safe and effective against symptomatic illness in clinical trials. But a Texas doctor, in a widely shared video, falsely claims the vaccines don’t provide protection and that they’re actually “experimental gene therapy.”
In a 2010 TED Talk focused on developing new technologies to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Bill Gates briefly mentioned reducing the rate of population growth. A conspiratorial video circulating on Facebook misleadingly edits Gates’ talk to suggest his “wish” was to depopulate the planet through vaccines.
No vaccine or medical product is 100% safe, but the safety of vaccines is ensured via rigorous testing in clinical trials prior to authorization or approval, followed by continued safety monitoring once the vaccine is rolled out to the public to detect potential rare side effects. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration inspects vaccine production facilities and reviews manufacturing protocols to make sure vaccine doses are of high-quality and free of contaminants.
More than half a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered in the U.S. and only a few, very rare, safety concerns have emerged. The vast majority of people experience only minor, temporary side effects such as pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, or muscle pain — or no side effects at all. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said, these vaccines “have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S.
Q: Do the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?
A: There’s no evidence that approved vaccines cause fertility loss. Although clinical trials did not study the issue, loss of fertility has not been reported among thousands of trial participants nor confirmed as an adverse event among millions who have been vaccinated.
The unprecedented speed of the COVID-19 vaccines was due to multiple factors.
Candidates for an mRNA vaccine — the technology used for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines — can be quickly designed once scientists know the genetic sequence of the virus and which protein to target. Researchers already knew from past experience with SARS and MERS, which are other diseases caused by coronaviruses, that the spike protein the virus uses to enter cells was likely the right one.