Godfrey Bloom video makes false claims about vaccines

21 April 2021
What was claimed

Covid-19 vaccines are experimental.

Our verdict

Covid-19 vaccines have been through a number of clinical trials which have shown their benefits “far outweigh any currently known side effects.”

What was claimed

Vaccines interfere with your DNA.

Our verdict

Vaccines do not interact with your DNA in any way.

What was claimed

Covid-19 vaccines weaken your immune system.

Our verdict

There is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccines weaken the immune system.

A video posted on Facebook by former MEP Godfrey Bloom, which has more than 34,000 views, makes several claims about Covid-19 vaccines and certificates (aka Covid-19 passports). 

We’ve written more about the possible introduction of Covid certificates here. The rollout of vaccine certificates has not been legislated or mandated by the government and plans are still under discussion. As has been widely reported, there is disagreement about whether the government should introduce Covid certificates. Many MPs say they plan to oppose any vaccine certificate scheme. 

Experimental vaccines

In the video, Mr Bloom said: “This is not a traditional vaccine, this is experimental and as I say big pharma have been quite upfront about the fact that it is experimental”. 

We have repeatedly debunked a number of claims that Covid-19 vaccines are experimental. 

The three Covid vaccines currently approved for emergency use in the UK have demonstrably shown high levels of protection against infection, and the expected benefits of the vaccines are said to “far outweigh any currently known side effects.” 

Some of the vaccines used in the UK are mRNA vaccines. The technology behind mRNA vaccines has been developed over a number of years. Both mRNA Covid-19 vaccines have passed the same safety tests and procedures any other vaccine would.

We’ve said this before but it bears repeating: it’s normal that authorities continue to monitor the safety of these vaccines even after they have been approved. This monitoring happens with all vaccines, including those that have been in use for years, to detect any adverse effects. Just because studies into these vaccines are continuing, it doesn’t mean the vaccines are experimental.

Vaccines interfere with your DNA 

Mr Bloom also said: “...there are virologists and immunologists who are saying that it isn’t now that is the problem, it is (in the) years to come when you have interfered with your own immune system and your DNA.”

As we have said a number of times, vaccines do not interfere with your DNA. Some of the Covid-19 vaccines are RNA vaccines; these contain messenger RNA (mRNA) which codes for a protein specific to the pathogen’s surface. The body uses this mRNA to build its own copies of these proteins which the immune system responds to by producing antibodies providing protection if the person catches the real disease later.

Fundamentally, however, it does not change the DNA of human cells.

Vaccines weaken your immune system 

In the video, Mr Bloom said: “...it could be that if your immune system is degraded in a few years time, the fact that you have had this jab may be a complete reversal. It may be then that you can't fly, you can't go into concerts, you can’t go into the pub because it's gone full circle and now what was maybe good for you today is not good for you then.”

Government advice states that immunosuppressed adults “may not respond as well to the Covid-19 vaccine as others” and there is ongoing research to establish the safety of the vaccine among people with existing immunosuppressed health conditions. However, there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines weaken or “degrade” healthy immune systems.  

We spoke to the Science Media Centre who asked experts what they thought of this claim. Dr Peter English, a retired consultant in Communicable Disease Control, and former Editor of Vaccines in Practice Magazine said: “As a vaccinologist, I cannot see how this relates to anything that science tells us.

“I can see no reason to claim that current Covid-19 vaccines - all of which seem to induce vigorous cellular immunity, as well as an antibody response - are likely to impair future immunity in any way.”

Professor Charles Bangham FRS FMedSci, Chair of Immunology, Imperial College London, added: “While some infectious agents such as HIV can indeed weaken the immune system, there is no evidence that the making of an immune response itself – whether to a vaccine, a pathogen or a toxin - weakens the immune system.  

“The immune system has evolved to be remarkably powerful and flexible, so that it can combat pathogens and toxins that we have never encountered before, and it does not lose this potential as a result of making a response.  

“Indeed this is in large measure how our ancestors survived, and why we are here now.  Vaccines themselves are extremely unlikely to weaken the immune system, and the benefit they have given to both humans and animals has been – and continues to be – enormous.”

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 false because Covid-19 vaccines are not experimental, Covid-19 vaccines do not interfere with your DNA and Covid-19 vaccines do not weaken your immune system.

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