False: COVID-19 vaccines contain HIV virus fragments.

By: Gayathri Loka
February 3 2023

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False: COVID-19 vaccines contain HIV virus fragments.


The Verdict False

Experts have told Logically that no scientific evidence supports this claim.

Claim ID ebefdc9e


Some recent social media posts have claimed that COVID-19 vaccines contain HIV fragments. Vanessa Sierra, a media personality, tweeted, "Some COVID shots are now resulting in fake positives for HIV. The reason? The vaccine contains small fragments of the HIV virus." The tweet attracted 220,000 views, 165 retweets, and 1,359 likes. These claims stem from an anti-vaccine narrative that state vaccines are not safe or effective. Such claims have been previously debunked as false or misleading. 

In Fact

Logically reached out to Dr. John Swartzberg, a clinical professor of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California, Berkeley. He said he knows of no credible science supporting this claim.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no link between COVID-19 vaccines and HIV. COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people with HIV. The Mayo Clinic lists three types of COVID-19 vaccine: mRNA, vector-based, and protein subunit. None of these vaccines have fragments of HIV in them, and neither do they transmit the disease. 

Donna Farber, chief of the Division of Surgical Sciences and Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at Columbia University, told Logically that "there are no HIV fragments in COVID-19 vaccines." She explained the different types of COVID-19 vaccines and how they work. "The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer, contain RNA, a string of nucleotides that encodes the viral Spike protein, and this RNA is encased in a lipid nanoparticle — basically a very small capsule of fat molecules. The other vaccine types by AstraZeneca [...] contain DNA also encoding the spike protein," she said.

In April 2022, the Lancet published a study named "COVID-19 vaccination and HIV-1 acquisition." The study observed no increase in HIV-1 infection rates was reported for the COVID-19 vaccine during large-scale trials or in widespread use following emergency authorization. 

HIV is a virus that attacks the body's immune system. It can be transmitted through penetrative sexual intercourse, blood transfusions, infected needles and equipment, and between mother and baby through childbirth or breastfeeding. COVID-19 vaccines do not transmit or contain HIV fragments in them. The claim stems from an anti-vaccine narrative that has been debunked as false. 

The Verdict

There is no link between COVID-19 vaccines and HIV. No evidence has been found of HIV fragments in vaccines. This claim stems from an anti-vaccine narrative. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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