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No, COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause or create new variants

Vaccines against COVID-19 slow the spread of the virus and do not cause or create variants of the virus.

Three years have passed since the emergence of the coronavirus, and now a new variant is spreading. The most common mutant in the US as of early January is XBB.1.5, which accounts for 41% of US cases. Experts told the Associated Press that this variant attaches more tightly than its competitors to a receptor that allows viruses to enter the cell.

When variants of the coronavirus, specifically the omicron variant, were first identified, screenshots of an article from Techniajz.com that purportedly described the symptoms of the omicron variant began to circulate online. Some social media users claimed that the list of side effects for the new variant was the same side effect people experienced after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

Other tweets claim that the vaccine caused this variant (see example here). The Twitter account for @techni_ajz also retweeted links to an article suggesting that more kids get vaccinated, more kids get options.

QUESTION

Can getting a COVID-19 vaccine create new variants of the virus?

SOURCES

ANSWER

No, the COVID-19 vaccine cannot create new variants. Doctors say the VERIFY vaccine slows both the spread of COVID-19 and the development of new variants.

WHAT WE FOUND

Dr. Daniel B. Fugbuyi, an emergency room physician and biosecurity expert, said the vaccine “can’t” create or cause new variants to develop because virus mutations work differently.

A variant occurs when the original virus mutates. Variants that survive and spread have some properties that make them “more successful at transmitting and reproducing than the original virus,” according to a Tufts University article.

“Viruses are technically not living things – they invade living cells and take over their mechanisms to gain energy and reproduce, and also find ways to infect other living organisms and start the process again,” the article says. Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies to fight the virus without causing it to mutate.

Dr. Saralyn Mark, former White House senior medical adviser to President Barack Obama, told VERIFY that another reason is that the live virus is not part of the vaccine.

Mark told VERIFY that viruses replicate quite well in unvaccinated populations, which is why there are serious discussions around the world about the fairness of vaccines. Wealthier countries have free access to vaccine supplies, while poorer countries struggle to get vaccines.

“It is extremely important that we share vaccines, but we also support very strict public health measures. Unfortunately, it has been politicized. We know that vaccines work, of course, but we also know that masks work. We know social distancing works, we know hand hygiene works, you know ventilation can work. And when we put it all together, we will have a more powerful system for self-defense,” she said.

Fagbuie told VERIFY that the safest thing people can do to reduce the risk of future options is to practice social distancing, wear masks and get vaccinated. In addition, scientists and researchers are only getting smarter and learning more about how variants are created or propagated, he says.

The vaccine is a shield against the virus, not a force field. He encourages people to get booster shots to increase their protection against the virus and its variants.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has a list of some of the possible side effects of the coronavirus and a list of vaccine side effects.

SOURCE OF DISPINFORMATION

The screenshots in the viral tweets were posted on the blog of Techniajz.com, a website registered in India. The blog post was created on November 27th and updated on November 30th.

Widespread screenshots show a list of side effects under the heading: “Symptoms of the novel coronavirus variant Omicron (B.1.1.529)”, and the archive of the page taken on November 28 also shows the heading.

On Nov. 29, when VERIFY identified and archived the page, the new title only said “Coronavirus Symptoms” with more information about the symptoms and context related to the omicron variant. This means the title was supposedly updated sometime between November 28th and 29th.

The website is registered in the state of Rajasthan, India, according to registration and domain information.

The author has since added a note to the top of the blog post stating: “This is based on publicly available news sources and we do not own any rights to it. We do not claim to be experts. We’re also updating it over time as more information comes in on the subject.”

VERIFY reached out to the website for a comment and received no response.

More from CHECK: No, you cannot detox to remove the vaccine from your body.

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