Current flu vaccines don’t use mRNA technology

24 January 2023
What was claimed

The influenza vaccine contains mRNA like some Covid-19 vaccines.

Our verdict

The flu vaccines currently in use in the UK do not use mRNA technology, although trials of mRNA flu vaccines are ongoing.

A post on Facebook says “the flu vaccine has the mrna in it like the covid vax” and includes screenshots of various articles reporting trials of flu vaccines containing mRNA technology. However, these are not currently available

The influenza vaccines currently being used in the UK are:

  • Inactivated vaccines, which use killed or altered versions of the virus
  • Attenuated vaccines, which use a live but weakened version, so that it can stimulate an immune response, but not cause the disease 
  • Recombinant vaccines, which contain pieces of the surface of the virus, known as antigens, which also stimulate an immune response.

mRNA technology, which is used in the Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines, works differently. It delivers genetic material (mRNA) that instructs the patient’s cells to make viral antigens, to which the immune system responds. 

Flu vaccines may contain RNA, which is present in all living cells to carry instructions for making proteins, and is used by the influenza virus to replicate. But mRNA is not the active ingredient in flu vaccines in the way suggested by the post. 

The post also says: “the covid vax [...] was proved to be useless for transmitting and protection and caused soo many new problems with all the adverse effects and deaths due to the jab [sic]”.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines give significant protection against severe outcomes with Covid-19.

Although mild side effects are common, serious adverse events as a result of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are rare.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency says “The benefits of the vaccines in preventing COVID-19 and serious complications associated with COVID-19 far outweigh any currently known side effects in the majority of patients.”

Image courtesy of Kelly Sikkema

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