COVID-19 Fact Checks

FALSE: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine contains HIV particles

FALSE: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine contains HIV particles
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine does not contain HIV particles, according to information from the US FDA, CDC, and DOH
At a glance
  • Claim: The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine contains human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) particles.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine does not contain HIV particles, according to a fact sheet by the US Food and Drug administration (FDA), a document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Philippine Department of Health (DOH). 
  • Why we fact-checked this: A Facebook user on August 3 posted a video of physical therapist Ron Samaniego, also known as “Dr. Ron,” making this claim. This post has 6,400 reactions, 4,400 comments, and 15,000 shares as of this writing.
At a glance

On August 3, Facebook user Tess Colarte posted a video of physical therapist Ron Samaniego, who goes by the name “Dr. Ron,” saying that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine contains HIV particles. HIV is the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. 

Starting at the 9:14 mark of the video, Samaniego said, “Ang iba pang inaatake ng itong vaccine na ito, eh, actually one part of this vaccine is HIV, may HIV particle itong mga vaccine na ito, like iyong Pfizer may HIV particles siya.” 

(The other thing that this vaccine attacks, actually, one part of this vaccine is HIV, there are HIV particles in these vaccines, like the one from Pfizer, it has HIV particles.)

As of this writing, the post has 6,400 reactions, 4,400 comments, 15,000 shares, and 897,000 views.

The claim is false. There are no HIV particles in the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The US FDA’s fact sheet for healthcare providers administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, updated on August 23, does not list HIV particles among the vaccine’s ingredients. The messenger RNA (mRNA) component is “a nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) encoding the viral spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2.”

The US CDC also has a document that lists down in Appendix C the ingredients of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines. HIV particles are not included in the lists of ingredients. 

The DOH has also dealt with the claim in a Facebook post on August 20 that addresses several of Samaniego’s claims. It said about the claim that COVID-19 vaccines contain HIV particles: “Hindi naglalaman ng mga sangkap na makakasama sa katawan ang COVID-19 vaccines kagaya ng pagka-baog, HIV, o ano mang mga sakit.

(COVID-19 vaccines do not have ingredients that can cause bodily harm, such as infertility, HIV, or any disease.)

The US FDA had given on August 23 its full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be marketed under the name Comirnaty for use in individuals ages 16 and up. Emergency use authorization for the vaccine still applies for individuals ages 12 to 15 and the third dose in some immunocompromised individuals.

Samaniego has made several dubious claims about COVID-19 and vaccines that both the Philippine Physical Therapy Association, Inc. and the DOH have denounced. 

Rappler has also fact-checked Samaniego before in the following articles:

– Percival Bueser/Rappler.com

Percival Bueser is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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