ampoules with Covid-19 vaccine on a laboratory bench

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Anti-vaxxers twist FDA announcement on deauthorization of certain COVID vaccines

Their claims aren’t true.


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Apr 25, 2023   Updated on Apr 26, 2023, 7:27 am CDT

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Conspiracy theorists are claiming that the FDA has banned the COVID vaccine due to either the dangers it poses or its inability to provide protection. But their claims aren’t true.

The false allegations began circulating online last week after the FDA announced on April 18 that the monovalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines would no longer be authorized for use in the US.

The statement was immediately seen by anti-vaxxers as proof of their long-held belief that the vaccines were not only harmful but had never been effective to begin with.

On Twitter, countless users highlighted the news as vindication of their warnings against the inoculation.

“Last year you couldn’t enter a restaurant without a vaccine card. That same vaccine today is BANNED,” thefar-right YouTuber SNEAKO tweeted. “Last year I was canceled off Youtube for saying the vaccine doesn’t work. Today the FDA agrees. Do you still believe their lies?”

Former UFC fighter Jake Shields also tweeted about the news, framing the FDA statement as an admission of guilt.

So what exactly is going on? It is true that the FDA removed authorization for monovalent COVID vaccines, which were designed to protect against one strain of the virus. The monovalent vaccines were approved in 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic. But as the virus evolved, bivalent vaccines, which fight against multiple strains, were developed and approved in 2022.

The FDA opted to remove the authorization for the monovalent vaccines “to simplify the vaccination schedule for most individuals.” Bivalent vaccines are still approved for use in the US. So instead of receiving a monovalent vaccine and booster, people can now receive bivalent vaccines instead.

“Most unvaccinated individuals may receive a single dose of a bivalent vaccine, rather than multiple doses of the original monovalent mRNA vaccines,” the FDA tweeted.

Despite the explanation being unsurprising given the ever-evolving nature of COVID, conspiracy theorists have continued to spread false claims regarding the FDA’s decision.

“Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines are no longer authorized in the US. Let me repeat that… The same vaccine they forced on your family and children for 2 whole years,” another anti-vaxxer tweeted. “The same vaccine they segregated, restricted, and demonized half the population over, is NO LONGER authorized.”

The incident is just one of countless times that anti-vaxxers have spread false information based on their misinterpretation of data.

Why it matters

Even though the FDA’s reasoning for removing authorization for monovalent vaccines is clear and scientifically sound, conspiracy theorists still refuse to interpret any remarks regarding vaccines through a fact-based lens.

The incident highlights how people will twist information, whether knowingly or unknowingly, to continue propping up their beliefs regardless of whether they are actually true.

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*First Published: Apr 25, 2023, 6:00 am CDT