People giving Covid-19 vaccines won’t be tried as war criminals

5 February 2021
What was claimed

We don’t know the Covid-19 vaccines are safe because the trial of them is still underway and won’t finish until 2023 so anyone getting the vaccine is being experimented on.

Our verdict

Multiple phases of trials have shown the approved vaccines to be safe and effective. Ongoing monitoring and further trials does not disprove this.

What was claimed

Because of this, the healthcare workers administering vaccines will be tried as war criminals because they are breaking the Nuremberg code when it comes to consenting to being part of an experiment.

Our verdict

Those getting the vaccine in the national roll-out are not being experimented on. They must give consent to get the vaccine which includes being given information on potential risks of both getting it and not getting it.

A video that’s been shared over 10,000 times on Facebook from someone who calls himself “Old Man In A Chair” makes a number of misleading statements about the status of various Covid-19 vaccines being issued in the UK.

His main claim seems to be that the Covid-19 vaccines are “experimental” and says anyone who gets a vaccine is taking part in an experiment without their consent. This is not true.

Three Covid-19 vaccines have been approved by the UK regulator for use at the time of writing: the Moderna vaccine, the Oxford and AstraZeneca, and the Pfizer-BioNTech.

Multiple stages of trials have proved that these three vaccines are safe and effective, some of which have happened concurrently to speed up the process. It’s normal that the 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. (The most recent monitoring has found that the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccines far outweigh any risks.)

Just because studies into these vaccines are continuing at the same time, doesn’t mean anyone getting the vaccine in the nationwide roll-out is part of a trial. 

Vaccines are not compulsory in the UK, including the Covid-19 vaccine, although it is strongly recommended to those who are offered it. Consent must be given by patients to get any vaccines, and for that to be valid they must be “offered as much information as they reasonably need to make their decision, and in a form that they can understand”. This includes the risks of any potential side effects, as well as the risks of not getting the jab.

The man in the Facebook video also claims that the Nuremberg code demands that explicit voluntary consent is required for “human experimentation”. He claims this means that because doctors and nurses aren’t telling patients they’re taking part in a trial, they are breaking this code and will be tried as war criminals.

But this is not the case. Although the code does say a subject’s voluntary consent is essential in experiments, as we’ve said, the national roll-out of the vaccine is not an experiment. People getting the vaccine as part of the national roll-out are not being experimented on, must consent to get the vaccine and are given information on potential effects. 

Those taking part in continuing clinical trials of vaccines must also consent to being part of these studies.

In the video, he also mentions the government contract for a software tool to monitor Covid-19 vaccine adverse reactions. Again, this monitoring is a standard part of continuing to monitor an approved drug or vaccine. We’ve written more about it here

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.