Antivaxxers have been falsely claiming that the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are “gene therapy,” not vaccines. Now über-quack Joe Mercola is falsely claiming that the vaccines are, from a legal standpoint, not vaccines.
There’s a new antivaccine talking point in town, and it’s just as much disinformation as other antivaccine talking points. It’s the claim that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are not really vaccines but “medical devices,” “gene therapy,” or “experimental biologics” and that they were falsely classified as vaccines in order to bypass safety testing. Here, we discuss why this claim is utter nonsense based on the highly deceptive use of terminology.
Recently, a post by Heidi Neckelmann, the wife of Miami obstetrician Dr. Gregory Michael describing his death from idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) 16 days after being vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine went viral. Unsurprisingly, in her grief she blamed the vaccine for her husband’s death from a rare autoimmune condition that destroys platelets and causes bleeding. Unfortunately, Dr. Michael’s tragic death underlines the difficulty distinguishing coincidence from causation when evaluating adverse events after vaccination.
Peter Doshi is at least borderline antivaccine and has been casting doubt on vaccine efficacy since 2009. Earlier this month, he posted a badly flawed “analysis” casting doubt on the efficacy of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Why does The BMJ still employ him?
Andrew Wakefield’s back, and—surprise! surprise!—he’s a COVID-19 conspiracy theorist who doesn’t understand biology. He thinks RNA vaccines are “genetic engineering” that will “permanently alter your DNA.”