Fact Check: Instagram posts – No, your sexual partner’s mRNA vaccine will not vaccinate you

Fact Check: Instagram posts – No, your sexual partner’s mRNA vaccine will not vaccinate you

Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, dubious claims about the vaccine still abound on social media. One warns against sleeping with vaccinated people.

“This is sad, I won’t ever sleep with or date a lady who is jabbed. Did you know you can get vaccinated sleeping with somebody who is already jabbed?” an Instagram post’s caption reads. “It’s called ‘shedding.’”

The post included a video and a screenshot of a tweet, which said, “SPIKE PROTEIN from the mRNA Covid-19 FLU JAB has almost entirely replaced Male SPERM.” The tweet links to a video entitled, “Dr Arne Burkhardt Confirms Sperm Has Been Almost Entirely Replaced By Spike Proteins.”

This 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 claim about “shedding” is an old, false narrative frequently used by anti-vaccine activists. 

The COVID-19 vaccine does not “shed” or affect unvaccinated people, as PolitiFact reported in 2021. We reported then that it is “biologically impossible.”

Dr. Shruti Gohil, associate medical director for epidemiology and infection prevention at the University of California, Irvine, told PolitiFact in 2021, “There is absolutely no biological mechanism for any COVID-19 vaccine side effects or vaccine components to shed to others.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines vaccine shedding as the “release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body.” It can only occur when a vaccine contains a live weakened version of the virus, the CDC said.

None of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines — or any authorized for use in the U.S. or globally for that matter — are live virus vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, the Novavax vaccine is a protein subunit vaccine, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. 

Live virus COVID-19 vaccines are still in development. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and co-inventor of a landmark rotavirus vaccine, said none are in use elsewhere in the world.

Examples of live virus vaccines include the oral polio vaccine and rotavirus vaccine. David Gorski, professor of surgery and oncology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, wrote in a 2021 blog post that there’s a difference between shedding and causing disease — strains of virus used in live attenuated virus vaccines have been weakened so they don’t cause actual disease.

PolitiFact has also previously debunked the claim that being around vaccinated people affects fertility. The CDC says COVID-19 vaccines are not associated with fertility problems in women or men. Reuters has also reported that there is currently no credible scientific evidence that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines damage men’s sperm.

Experts have repeatedly criticized Burkhardt’s claims regarding vaccines as wrong.

Our ruling

An Instagram post claimed that “you can get vaccinated sleeping with somebody who is already jabbed” with an mRNA vaccine through “shedding.”

“Shedding” — known as the release of vaccine components in or outside of the body — is only possible with vaccines that contain a live weakened version of the virus. This is not possible with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. mRNA vaccines work by instructing cells to produce a piece of spike protein, which triggers an immune response in the body. They do not contain a live virus.

We rate this claim False.

Source: PolitiFact.

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