False claims about mRNA vaccines resurface in response to bird flu research

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are developing an mRNA vaccine for the H5N1 bird flu. The vaccine—which was tested in mice and ferrets but has not yet gone through clinical trials—could help manage the bird flu outbreak in birds and cattle and prevent human infections. In response to news articles and news videos about this vaccine, some social media users are claiming that mRNA vaccines are unsafe and that “Mnra should be banned!!”

Recommendation: Social media posts promoting false claims about mRNA vaccines and bird flu may undermine patients’ perception of the safety of mRNA vaccines and may discourage patients from following current and future public health guidance about bird flu. Messaging may emphasize that while human cases of bird flu are extremely rare, researchers have been monitoring the evolution of the disease and have started to develop new vaccines in the event of a possible outbreak among humans. University of Pennsylvania researchers began developing an mRNA bird flu vaccine because “mRNA vaccines are easily and quickly adapted to protect against different strains of influenza viruses, and don’t require eggs for their development.” All vaccines—including mRNA vaccines—are rigorously tested using strict safety standards before becoming available to the public. Over the past four years, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been studied and monitored in millions of people worldwide, and there is no evidence linking them to widespread health issues or deaths. In fact, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have saved millions of lives. The CDC recommends mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older.