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FALSE : “Some of these new vaccines will rewrite your DNA”

The mRNA vaccines will not alter your DNA.

In a tweet published on September 14th 2020, Newsmax White House correspondent Emerald Robinson expressed doubts about the vaccines against coronavirus and claimed : “Some of these new vaccines will rewrite your DNA.

Who is Emerald Robinson ?

Emerald Robinson is a former White House correspondent for One America News Network. She now works for Newsmax. Both are Conservative networks and openly Pro-Trump. They have been accused of spreading false information, especially after the 2020 presidential election. Back in April 2020, Robinson herself spread conspiracy theories on Twitter, claiming that Bill Gates wants to “[use] vaccines to track people”.


What are these “new vaccines” ?

The race for a vaccine against coronavirus began almost immediately after the virus spread throughout the globe. Back in April, Nature reported that more than 90 vaccines were being developed at that point all around the world. Two of the most promising candidates seem to be Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s vaccines, with a 95 % efficacy for the former and a 94,5 % efficacy for the latter. Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine was even authorized by the UK on December 2nd, with the vaccination campaign expected to begin the following week.

Both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are based on mRNA technology, which is different from that of traditional vaccines. Instead of injecting antigens to fight a disease, they inject messenger RNA (mRNA), a molecule which leads the body to produce viral proteins itself. The immune system then detects these proteins and fights them.


Why all these debates around vaccines and mRNA technology?

Robinson is far from being the only one claiming that mRNA vaccines would alter human DNA. The worries are great about these vaccines, which can be explained by their novelty and innovation. The Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine would be the first of its kind. Unlike traditional vaccines, mRNA vaccines don’t involve using part of a virus. That technology has never been used on humans on a wide scale and is quite complex. This makes it easier for pro-conspiracy theories to create confusion. 

However, as much as mRNA technology seems new, it has actually been studied for decades. Multiple studies of mRNA vaccines used on humans have taken place over the last few years. These vaccines are not yet released. Further testing needs to be conducted in order to evaluate the duration of protection or side effects, but experts assure that DNA is not one of the worries as RNA technology does not enter DNA cells.  

The rumour about DNA tampering is not the only accusation against Covid-19 vaccines. Some other theories assert that vaccines are being developed to inject microchips inside the human body. A claim which has been debunked many times by outlets such as the BBC or USA Today.


To conclude, it is false that new vaccines will rewrite your DNA. There are indeed plenty of things about the vaccines that we do not know yet. They are not a hundred percent safe, because the testing period is not over and further testing needs to be conducted. Worries about side effects are legitimate, but none of them include genetically modified humans.


Léa Dandois Delaigue and Marie Delumeau