Instagram post gets it wrong about Covid-19 vaccines and animal testing

24 June 2021
What was claimed

Covid-19 has a survival rate of 99.998%.

Our verdict

While there is no completely accurate statistic, based on the sheer number of people who died from Covid-19 we know the survival rate is lower than this.

What was claimed

Covid-19 vaccines were not tested on animals before they were approved.

Our verdict

All of the vaccines approved for use in the UK were tested on animals.

An Instagram post has made misleading claims about Covid-19 survival rates and vaccine safety testing. 

It states: “99.998% chance of survival But takes part in human vaccine trial where they skipped animal testing.”

Both of the claims are untrue.

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Covid-19 survival rates

As we’ve covered many times before, the estimated Covid-19 survival rate has been estimated to be somewhere between 99-99.5%, though this has likely increased with the vaccine roll-out. 

However, precise estimates are difficult to make because we don’t know the total number of people who caught Covid-19 and therefore what proportion survived.

In any case, we can say the survival rate of the disease is lower than 99.98% because 0.2% of the population have already died with Covid-19 recorded as a cause on their death certificate, as this fact check explains.

Vaccine trials

As we’ve said before the Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have all been tested on animals, as has the recently-approved Janssen vaccine.

The confusion may have arisen from reports that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were permitted to carry out human trials concurrently with animal trials.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was tested out on mice and monkeys before people. All of the vaccines required thorough assessment by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) before they were approved as safe for use. The MHRA continues to monitor the vaccines’ safety as well as any potential adverse effects. 

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