The COVID-19 vaccine does not change human DNA

Fact checking

Bojana Zizic, UNUCEF young reporter
fact checking blog visual
UNICEF Montenegro
14 April 2021

During the COVID-19 crisis, when we have been spending an increasing amount of time on the internet due to the closure of schools, cafés, kindergartens and offices, it happens that we have unconsciously become transmitters of various news items, whose sources and authors we have not checked.

To determine whether the information published in the media and on social networks is true, we were engaged to check posts, one of which was a statement that the coronavirus vaccine changes human DNA.

The World Health Organization was the first to respond to this statement with the explanation:

“COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology has been rigorously tested for safety, and clinical trials have shown that mRNA vaccines provide a long-lasting immune response. The mRNA vaccine technology has been studied for decades, including in the context of vaccines against the Zika virus, rabies and influenza. mRNA vaccines are not live viral vaccines and do not interfere with human DNA.

The opinions of experts on this topic were also published on the BBC Serbia portal, as the following article states:

“Injecting RNA into someone does nothing to human cell DNA,” says Professor Jeffrey Alond of Oxford University. It works by instructing the body to produce a protein found on the surface of the corona virus. The immune system then learns how to recognize and produce antibodies against that protein.”

We also asked experts from the Clinical Centre of Montenegro (KCCG) whether the vaccine against COVID-19 can modify human DNA. Here is what they told us:

The materials that make up the coronavirus vaccine are based on ribonucleic acids (RNA), and when they enter the body, they do not penetrate the nucleus at all, so they do not have a chance of coming into contact with the hereditary material contained in it; therefore, we conclude that vaccination will not cause any harm to the body, especially in terms of changing the structure of the DNA chain.

Dr. Vladimir Jovanovic from KCCG

Having considered the facts and evidence in the form of the views and statements of experts, we have come to the conclusion that the information regarding harmful effects of the vaccine against COVID-19 on human DNA is unfounded and untrue.

By checking the information, we learn the truth and importance of immunization in the time of coronavirus, but also the importance of media literacy in everyday life, and we invite you, as young UNICEF reporters, to check the sources and choose what you watch, listen and read.

In an effort to contribute to preventing the dissemination of coronavirus misinformation and to promoting credible sources of information, UNICEF’s young reporters have decided to check the accuracy of information published on social media and in the media that has attracted public attention. In verifying the accuracy of information, they have followed the example of the Public Disclosure Platform “Raskrinkavanje“ and partly used its publicly available methodology.