Covid-19 vaccines passed animal trials

20 September 2021
What was claimed

Covid-19 vaccines didn’t make it past animal trials.

Our verdict

This is not true. All four vaccines approved for use in the UK passed animal trials.

In an apparent reference to the Covid-19 vaccines, a post on Facebook claims that people are “being Injected by something that couldn’t even make it past the Animal Trials”.

The post does not mention Covid-19 vaccines specifically, but it comes from a Facebook account and refers to a Facebook group that have recently shared posts critical of the vaccines.

It’s not clear if the post author is referring to a specific Covid-19 vaccine, but all four vaccines approved for use in the UK (Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen) passed animal trials (also referred to as pre-clinical trials) before being approved.

All four of the vaccines were also tested in large clinical trials and were found to be safe and effective for human use (Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen).

Untrue claims that animal testing was not carried out, or that all the animals were killed by vaccines during the trials, have proliferated throughout the vaccine rollout, and we have fact checked them several times before

Chris Magee, head of policy and media at UK non-profit Understanding Animal Research, previously told Full Fact that in the case of Covid-19 vaccines, data already existed to indicate the vaccines were safe, which enabled researchers to run animal trials alongside the early stages of human trials.

Had the animals died during this process, he said, the human trials would have been immediately halted. The fact that they were not indicates the animals did not die unexpectedly.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as partly false because the four Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK did pass animal trials.

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