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• Spike proteins are not toxic or harmful to children or anyone else, and do not damage organs.
• They help stimulate an immune response to protect the body against disease.
COVID-19 vaccines have been safely tested in and approved for those ages 5 and older, but that has not stopped false, fear-inducing claims about risks of the vaccine to children.
A TikTok video posted Jan. 3 shows footage of Dr. Robert Malone saying that when children are given vaccines for COVID-19, "A viral gene will be injected into your children's cells. This gene forces your child’s body to make toxic spike proteins. These proteins often cause permanent damage in children’s critical organs."
The caption on the video reads, "Listen please inventor of vaccine says do not get vaccine." After the video was posted, the account appears to have been banned from TikTok for repeated violations of community standards.
The TikTok video was shared on Facebook and was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines use mRNA technology to instruct a person’s cells on how to create a piece of a spike protein. It’s the same protein found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19, so the immune system learns to recognize and respond to it.
The mRNA vaccines "involve the injection of a small part of the virus’s genetic code … in contrast to the more widespread ‘conventional’ vaccines which use a whole pathogen or fragment," Reuters reported.
But claiming that the vaccine involves injecting a "viral gene into your children’s cells" appears to be a riff on numerous debunked claims that COVID-19 vaccines are a form of gene therapy. The mRNA vaccines do not change a person’s genetic makeup and never enter the part of the cell that hosts DNA.
The spike proteins are harmless, do not cause illness and do not last long in the body.
And the proteins do not cause long-term damage to organs.
"There is absolutely no evidence that the spike proteins can cause permanent damage to children's vital organs," American Academy of Pediatrics fellow Dr. Deborah Greenhouse told AFP Fact Check.
We have previously fact-checked other claims about the safety of the spike protein. Each of these fact-checks concluded that there is no evidence that spike proteins are toxic or pose any serious health risk. And there is also no evidence to support the claim that the COVID-19 vaccine causes the body to continuously produce infectious spike bodies in children.
A TikTok video shows footage of Dr. Robert Malone saying that when children are given vaccines for COVID-19, "A viral gene will be injected into your children's cells. This gene forces your child’s body to make toxic spike proteins. These proteins often cause permanent damage in children’s critical organs."
The spike proteins generated by vaccines help trigger the body’s immune response. They are not toxic, do not cause illness and do not last long in the body. Experts say there is no evidence that the proteins cause damage to organs.
We rate this claim False.
AAP Fact Check, "Child vaccination video fails screen test for truth," Dec. 23, 2021
AFP Fact Check, "Video makes inaccurate claims about Covid-19 shots harming children," Dec. 24, 2021
Associated Press, "Spike protein produced by vaccine not toxic," June 10, 2021
HealthFeedback.Org, "The development of mRNA vaccines was a collaborative effort; Robert Malone contributed to their development, but he is not their inventor," Aug. 26, 2021
PolitiFact, "A video that originated on InfoWars is filled with falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines," Nov. 17, 2021
PolitiFact, "Claim that spike proteins will cause illness to spread like wildfires in kids is False," Nov. 2, 2021
PolitiFact, "Joe Rogan falsely says mRNA vaccines are ‘gene therapy’,"Aug. 31, 2021
PolitiFact, "No proof for researcher claim that COVID-19 vaccines’ spike protein is a ‘toxin’," June 7, 2021
PolitiFact, "No sign that the COVID-19 vaccines’ spike protein is toxic or ‘cytotoxic’," June 16, 2021
PolitiFact, "Repeatedly debunked idea of "shedding" COVID-19 vaccines is still false," Nov. 8, 2021
PolitiFact, "Who is Robert Malone? Joe Rogan’s guest was a vaccine scientist, became an anti-vaccine darling," Jan. 6, 2022
Reuters, "Fact check: Genetic materials from mRNA vaccines do not multiply in your body forever," Jan 14, 2021
Substack, Dr. Malone Archive Stack, "Before You Inject Your Child," Dec. 14, 2021
The Atlantic, "The tangled history of mRNA vaccines," Sept. 14, 2021
TikTok post, Jan. 3, 2022
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