At a glance
- Claim: Medical professionals should follow the Nuremberg Code in doing COVID-19 mass vaccinations since it is a form of human experimentation.
- Rating: FALSE
- The facts: The Nuremberg Code is a World War II-era guideline that is not followed by the medical field in modern times and is not legally binding. It also does not apply to COVID-19 vaccination, because vaccines had already passed several stages of clinical trials before being allowed to be given to the public.
- Why we fact-checked this: A reader emailed to Rappler a video containing this claim for fact-checking. It has over 7,200 views, 1,100 comments, and 1,100 reactions on Facebook, as of writing.
A video posted on Thursday, June 10, by Facebook user Lynn Agno falsely claims that medical professionals should follow the Nuremberg code while doing COVID-19 mass vaccinations since the vaccination program is considered human experimentation.
The video is titled: “Breaking news!!! Alamin ang Sampung Codes ng NUREMBERG” (Breaking news! Know the 10 codes of Nuremberg!)
In the video, Agno says that the Nuremberg Code is an ethical guideline for human experiments. “Mga ethical guidelines na kung sino man ang mga physician na magko-conduct ng mga human experiments, and this includes itong bakuna, kasi part tayo ng human experiment,” she says.
([The Nuremberg Code] has ethical guidelines for physicians that are conducting human experiments, and this includes the [COVID-19] vaccine, because we are a part of human experimentation).
A reader emailed the post to Rappler for verification. Data from social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle show that the video has over 7,200 views and 1,200 reactions on Facebook, as of writing.
This claim is false.
The Nuremberg Code is a 10-point ethical guideline created in 1947 following the trial of a group of Nazi doctors accused of conducting inhumane and deadly experiments on prisoners in concentration camps. Although it set new medical research standards at the time, primarily involving consent, it is not legally binding.
The code also does not apply to COVID-19 vaccination because vaccines had already passed several stages of clinical trials before being allowed to be given to the public.
However, it is standard procedure for drug manufacturers to continue the safety monitoring even after approval. Pfizer, for example, announced that it would continue its Phase III trials after its vaccine was approved by regulators to assess the long-term protection of the vaccine. The continued study only has a select number of respondents, who volunteered and gave informed consent. Reuters has a related fact check on this topic.
The current mass vaccination program of local government units in the country requires a person to voluntarily register for a vaccination slot. Vaccination sites require health declaration forms and informed consent forms from individuals.
Moreover, British fact-checker Full Fact quoted Alexis Paton, a lecturer in social epidemiology and the sociology of health at Aston University in Birmingham, as saying that the Nuremberg Code was no longer relevant once the vaccine had been authorized. Paton said that its principles still applied in clinical vaccine trials, however.
As of Tuesday, July 6, the vaccines being administered in the country are Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Pfizer, and Moderna. These were all given emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration. (TRACKER: The Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccine distribution)
The Department of Health’s official website explains that vaccines are given EUAs to speed up the process of giving it to the public in a public health emergency. It also says that the EUAs are subjected to the criteria that products are manufactured in compliance with “good manufacturing practices.”
Rappler has fact-checked several times two separate Facebook pages by Agno: “Lynn Channel” and “Lynn Channel Warriors of Truth.” She often posts false and misleading claims about COVID-19. – Lorenz Dantes Pasion/Rappler.com
Lorenz Dantes Pasion is a Rappler intern. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.
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