RNA Covid-19 vaccines will not change your DNA

30 November 2020
What was claimed

The Covid vaccine is an RNA vaccine. This will actually change your DNA.

Our verdict

Some of the Covid-19 vaccine candidates are RNA vaccines. These don’t alter your DNA, they comprise of mRNA that gives the body instructions on how to make the proteins on the surface of the virus.

A post on Facebook has claimed that the Covid-19 vaccine is an RNA vaccine that will “actually change your DNA”.

Although some of the 50 or so candidate Covid-19 vaccines are based on RNA technologies, they do not change your DNA. We’ve written about this before here.

Conventional vaccines contain inactivated versions of whatever pathogen causes the disease, or proteins on its surface, to cause an immune response in the body which means it can fight the real infection later.

RNA vaccines instead contain what’s called 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.

This introduction of mRNA into human cells does not change the DNA of the human cells and if these cells replicate, the mRNA would not be incorporated into the new cells’ genetic information.

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 some candidate Covid-19 vaccines use RNA but they do not alter your DNA.

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