Fact Check: No, the COVID-19 vaccines are not experimental

Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 9:13 AM CST
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(KWQC) - Since COVID-19 vaccines hit the market, several online posts emerged stating the vaccines are experimental.

That claim is false.

In fact, more research and manpower has gone into the COVID-19 vaccines than any other.

The World Health Organization said because of the “urgent need” for COVID-19 vaccines, some of the steps in the research and development process were allowed to run at the same time. The WHO said it’s because of the unprecedented financial investments and political commitments to the vaccine that allowed it to be developed so quickly.

That includes Operation Warp Speed, developed by the White House under the Trump Administration, which provided billions of dollars for the development and manufacturing of the vaccines. This allowed for increased manufacturing capacity for some of the vaccines while they were still in testing.

Likewise, while both Pzifer-BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines are some of the first mRNA vaccines to be authorized and approved in the United States, mRNA technology is not new.

Researchers have studied mRNA vaccines for decades, in particular, because they can be developed in a laboratory setting with readily available materials. So, according to the CDC, once the information about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was known, researchers were able to develop the vaccines.

According to the CDC, Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines “teach our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response inside our bodies.” These vaccines do not use the live virus and do not affect or interact with our DNA. These vaccines teach our cells to produce a “spike protein.” After that is made, our immune system recognizes the protein and breaks it down, similar to what happens if you become infected with the actual COVID-19 virus. The CDC says our cells break down the mRNA and remove it within a few days after vaccination. As for the spike protein it creates, scientists estimate it stays in the body for up to a few weeks.

According to the CDC, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have been held to the same safety and effectiveness standards as every other vaccine produced in the U.S. Safety monitoring systems are continuing to track the COVID-19 vaccines, in what the CDC calls the “most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.”

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines have been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration at the time of publication. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is under Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA.

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