False claims about mRNA COVID-19 vaccines circulate

Several social media posts are claiming that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are dangerous because of their ability to stimulate the production of spike proteins. One post claims that the lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) in mRNA vaccines are poisonous and can spread to the heart and ovaries. Others claim the spike proteins produced by COVID-19 vaccines may cause long term damage.

Risk level: High

Recommendation: False claims about COVID-19 vaccines, and especially persistent myths about mRNA technology, may deter patients from getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine this fall. It is recommended doctors be prepared for questions about the safety of mRNA vaccines and whether the benefits of vaccination outweigh any potential risks for patients. Messaging may emphasize that LNPs in COVID-19 vaccines and spike proteins from COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and severe adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are extremely rare. The benefits of vaccination outweigh any potential risks, because staying up to date on COVID 19 vaccines reduces the risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization, death, and long COVID. The CDC continues recommending the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone six months and older.