In a letter to the head of the FDA, the Florida surgeon general raised concerns about the safety and efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. In the letter, the surgeon claimed that COVID-19 vaccines contain SV40, a virus associated with cancer. The letter called for a response from the FDA by December 13, 2023. While the FDA has not responded, social media users are circulating the letter online and echoing its claims.
Risk level: High
Recommendation: This letter and related social media posts are examples of the persistent false claims around COVID-19 vaccines and cancer. These claims may deter patients from getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine, and doctors can expect questions about COVID-19 vaccine ingredients. Talking points may emphasize that there is strong evidence to support that COVID-19 vaccines do not contain SV40 and that COVID-19 vaccines do not cause cancer or increase the risk of developing cancer. The benefits of vaccination outweigh any potential risks, because staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines prevents severe illness and death.