The claim: COVID-19 vaccines didn't pass animal studies
Now some proponents of the anti-parasitic drug traditionally used for animals are falsely claiming COVID-19 vaccinations haven't passed animal studies.
“The people making horse medicine jokes are getting injections that haven’t passed animal studies,” claims an image in singer Ted Nugent's Sept. 7 Facebook post.
The post received more than 2,500 shares in its first three days.
But the claim is wrong. Each of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. have completed animal testing.
USA TODAY reached out to Nugent for comment.
Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson each completed animal testing
Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson produce the only COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson continue to roll out vaccines under Emergency Use Authorizations. Pfizer became the first vaccine to gain official FDA approval in August.
All have conducted animal testing on their vaccines.
Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson each discussed their vaccines’ animal studies in press releases. In each of the vaccines’ animal testing trials, the vaccines showed they effectively limit COVID-19 contraction.
FDA spokesperson Alison Hunt told USA TODAY the claim is "not true."
In May, USA TODAY debunked a claim that COVID-19 vaccine makers had to halt animal testing due to widespread deaths.
Our rating: False
We rate FALSE the claim that COVID-19 vaccines didn't pass animal studies, based on our research. Each of the vaccines currently authorized for use in the U.S. has passed animal testing. The FDA referenced these studies in the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines’ Emergency Use Authorization forms, and an FDA spokesperson confirmed this claim is false.
Our fact-check sources:
- The Associated Press, Nov. 25, 2020, Pfizer and Moderna did not skip animal trials
- USA TODAY, March. 27, Comparing the COVID-19 vaccines
- USA TODAY, Aug. 23, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine becomes first to win FDA's full approval, paving way for boosters, mandates
- Pfizer, Sept. 9, 2020, PFIZER AND BIONTECH ANNOUNCE DATA FROM PRECLINICAL STUDIES OF MRNA-BASED VACCINE CANDIDATE AGAINST COVID-19
- Moderna, July 28, 2020, Moderna Announces Publication in The New England Journal of Medicine of Non-Human Primate Preclinical Viral Challenge Study of its mRNA Vaccine Against COVID-19 (mRNA-1273)
- Johnson & Johnson, July 30, 2020, Single Dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Demonstrates Robust Protection in Pre-clinical Studies
- Food and Drug Administration, Dec. 11, 2020, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Emergency Use Authorization Review Memorandum
- Food and Drug Administration, Dec. 18, 2020, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Emergency Use Authorization Review Memorandum
- Food and Drug Administration, Feb. 27, Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Emergency Use Authorization Review Memorandum
- Nature, Feb. 1, BNT162b vaccines protect rhesus macaques from SARS-CoV-2
- The New England Journal of Medicine, Oct. 15, 2020, Evaluation of the mRNA-1273 Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in Nonhuman Primates
- Nature Medicine, Sept. 3, 2020, Ad26 vaccine protects against SARS-CoV-2 severe clinical disease in hamsters
- Alison Hunt, Sept. 10, Email correspondence with USA TODAY
- Reuters, June 1, Fact Check-COVID-19 vaccines did not skip animal trials because of animal deaths
- USA TODAY, May 20, Fact check: COVID-19 vaccine makers did not halt animal tests, and there were no widespread animal deaths
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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.