False: Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel admitted that the company produced 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in 2019.

By: Ankita Kulkarni
February 14 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
False: Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel admitted that the company produced 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in 2019.


The Verdict False

Bancel remarked that Moderna produced 100,000 vaccines for various diseases in 2019.

Claim ID cd6c0806


A Facebook post shared on February 7, 2023, includes a minute-long video clip of a panel discussion where Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said that Moderna produced 100,000 vaccine doses in 2019. The caption to the post reads, "Did The CEO of Moderna Say? He Knew There Was Going To Be A Pandemic?" Other posts on Facebook shared the same video with the claim, "Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel Admits Company Produced 100,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Doses In 2019 Before The Pandemic Started."

In Fact

A reverse image search of a keyframe from the viral clip led us to the longer video uploaded to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) YouTube channel on February 6, 2023. The panel discussed "The State of the Pandemic" at the 2023 annual meet in Davos. At 10:05 minutes, the moderator, Sasha Vakulina, a senior editor for Euronews, spoke about the development of the COVID-19 vaccine and asked Bancel, "How is the development, adoption, and scaling of vaccines going on when it comes for different variants and sub-variants (sic)?"

Bancel responded, "So, the great news versus 2020, where we are today, is we have manufacturing capacity. When the pandemic happened, Moderna had made 100,000 doses in 2019 for the whole year. And I remember walking into the office of my head of manufacturing, and I said, 'How will we make a billion doses next year? There's going to be a pandemic."

He added that they have plants in the U.S. and Switzerland and can quickly adapt vaccines to variants. Bancel also notes the availability of a BFI Omicron booster in early September in the U.S., saying, "In the old world of vaccines, [it] would have been unthinkable."

The video shows that Bancel clearly said that Moderna produced 100,000 vaccines across various diseases in 2019, not specifically for the coronavirus.

Logically also reviewed Moderna's shareholder letter of 2019. There is no mention of developing a COVID-19 vaccine. It notes that the company produced vaccines for diseases like avian influenza (H10N8 and H7N9), human metapneumovirus, and human parainfluenza 3. The first mention of the COVID-19 vaccine by Moderna appears in the 2020 shareholder letter when the virus had already been detected worldwide. Moderna started working on the COVID-19 vaccine in January 2020, a document on the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) website shows.

The narrative spread in the viral video also hints at an unproven conspiracy theory that falsely claims that elites planned the pandemic to reduce the human population and gain control.

The Verdict

Bancel's words were taken out of context to falsely claim that COVID-19 vaccines were produced before the pandemic. Moderna made 100,000 vaccine doses for all diseases in 2019 and began its COVID-19 vaccine research in January 2020, when the virus was widely detected. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before