Skip to content

Correcting this week’s misinformation: week of March 23, 2023

Do mRNA vaccines cause cancer?

The Claim:

A tweet presents a video of a physician claiming that the mRNA vaccines increase mortality and cause cancer. The tweeter claims that “over 17,000 scientists and doctors around the world” support the video claims as “scientific fact.”

The Facts:

The video-featured physician starts is infamous for making false claims about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines; his claims here are no exception. There are two issues with this claim: it is based on the beliefs of a person with no medical background and it misrepresents the data cited.

When we evaluate the accuracy of any claim, it’s important to consider the expertise of the source. Here, we have a physician known for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. The authority this physician cites for his claims is a self-described equity investment executive with no medical or public health background.

This executive claims that people aged 25–45  who had the COVID-19 vaccine experienced an 84 percent increase in mortality, but this claim has been proven false. Our non-medical executive also tries to support his false claim with a graph of excess deaths taken from CDC data. However, the data he uses actually represent excess deaths due to COVID itself. There is absolutely no evidence that vaccines were involved in these deaths.

The tweet’s suggestion that mRNA in the COVID vaccine causes cancer is a misrepresentation of a 2018 study performed by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The center did do a study of mRNA, but it was not the mRNA used in the vaccine. As the center explained in a statement clarifying their research, “There are thousands of different kinds of mRNA in human cells. Each kind of mRNA does different things. The mRNA used in vaccines does not cause cancer or alter DNA.”

Is getting COVID-19 safer than getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Claim:

A tweet claims that nearly 10 times as many college students have died from the COVID vaccine versus the number of college students who have died from the COVID virus, and suggests that colleges should instruct students to get COVID instead of the vaccine.

The Facts:

We are betting that you won’t be surprised to learn that this tweeter’s claim is based on a spreadsheet he created himself and on data he collected from anyone who wanted to report to him. Of the 147 spreadsheet entries, at least 15 are duplicates, 4 were left completely blank, and several listed no name and a bad URL. Quite a few of his “participants” attempted to “prove” their vaccine death claims with baffling assertions. They linked to articles that didn’t mention COVID, vaccination status, or even cause of death. Another person specifically listed a long-time condition as a cause of death.

Based on this homemade and not-so-super unscientific study, our tweeter makes a wild baseless leap, suggesting that colleges and universities should mandate COVID infection to keep students safe.

Because why would students want to protect themselves with a safe, effective vaccine when they could risk catching a vascular disease that has caused organ and neurological damage, as well as millions of deaths?

Does the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine cause kidney injury and renal failure?

The Claim:

An online platform claims that people are having acute kidney injury and acute renal failure after receiving the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccination.

The Facts:

Although it is true that kidney injury and renal failure are listed as possible vaccine adverse events, these vaccine-related injuries are very rare. An article highlights just how rare of an event this is using VAERS, a system anyone can use to report a suspected adverse event following vaccination. VAERS data shows 1133 self-reported cases of kidney injury between Dec 2020 and June 2021, with over 300 million doses of vaccine administered. Remember, these cases of injury can be reported to VAERS whether or not they were actually caused by the vaccine.

It’s also important to note that though some research indicates that the vaccine may, in very rare cases, cause kidney injury, that research also indicates that COVID infection itself is a common source of kidney damage and is “proven to be one of the main risk factors for worse prognosis in intensive care units.”

Finally, the online claim attempts to suggest that an infant was included in the Pfizer vaccine population, even though infants were not authorized for participation. However, study documents show that this infant was only included because the infant was breastfed by a participating parent.

Just the Facts Newsletter:

Correcting this week's disinformation

Sign up to get a weekly look at the latest vaccination facts as we debunk the latest false vaccination claims making the rounds on the internet.

Back To Top