Testimony from South Carolina Senate hearing sparks vaccine contamination concerns

In early September, the South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs Ad-Hoc Committee conducted hearings on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, and information from these hearings has garnered significant attention on social media. One video features a University of South Carolina professor who claims that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine contains plasma DNA contamination. This assertion has raised concerns that the COVID-19 vaccine may cause autoimmune diseases and cancer. Another viral video features a Texas-based toxicologist expressing worries that SV40, a virus found in monkey kidneys that can potentially cause cancer in humans, is present in the COVID-19 vaccine. Social media posts are linking these allegations to a supposed increase in rare cancers among young adults.

Risk level: Medium

Recommendation: Social media posts sharing false claims about adverse reactions may deter patients from getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine this fall. Talking points may emphasize that there is no evidence to indicate that SV40 is present in the COVID-19 vaccine and that there is no established link between COVID-19 vaccines and cancer.