Trust Index: No, there is not fetal tissue in the COVID-19 vaccines

Posts falsely claim vaccines contain tissue from aborted fetuses

SAN ANTONIO – It is perhaps one of the most asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine: Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain fetal tissue from aborted fetuses?

The claim, that fetal tissue is being used in the manufacturing process or in the development of the vaccine, has been widely circulated across the country over social media.

But according to San Antonio epidemiologist Dr. Cherise Rohr-Allegrini, the claim is false.

“It’s not true. Unfortunately, that’s a myth that the anti-vaxxers have been using for a decade,” Rohr-Allegrini told KSAT. “We know this vaccine has been studied very well. I feel very confident in taking it. We should all feel confident about taking it.”

Rohr-Allegrini cites the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s website as a place to find more information on what the vaccine contains.

The website lists mRNA, lipids, salts, animes and sugar among the vaccine’s ingredients. Fetal material is listed as something that is not an ingredient.

Each state is creating their own plan for vaccine distribution. The plans are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Each is a bit different to accommodate the unique needs of their populations as well as to account for the disease statistics in their area, number of doses of vaccines they expect to receive in the early days.

To clarify this even further, Dr. Bryan Alsip, Chief Medical Officer at University Health, explained the difference between fetal tissue and fetal cell lines—something social media posts often confuse.

According to Alsip, fetal cell lines were harvested from elective abortions back in the 1970′s, and are not used in the production or manufacturing process of the vaccines. However, they are used to test the vaccines before being given to humans.

“Fetal cell lines mimic human tissue, human cells,” Alsip said. “One of the things that the manufacturers did was once they had a completed manufactured vaccine, they basically wanted to test it to see if it would work within a human cell before they injected it into a human body.”

Many religious and faith leaders have come out in support of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying they are acceptable to take.

Earlier this week Pope Frances said getting the COVID-19 vaccine is an “ethical duty.” Reports indicate Pope Frances received his first dose of the vaccine on Wednesday.

Related: Trust Index: Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain a tracking device?

About the Authors

Alex Trevino is an assignments editor at KSAT who previously worked as the senior video editor and photojournalist.

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