August 30, 2023

An Instagram video made an unsubstantiated claim about women vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I would not marry a woman who got the COVID-19 vaccine because there’s unknown side effects that could perpetually go down through the lineage,” says the man in the video, posted Aug. 25. “Like, part of me being a man is being able to bring to the table the ability to produce offspring that then carry my name, my DNA, my lineage forward.”

The post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

COVID-19 vaccines do not alter DNA, and their side effects are not transmissible.

Epidemiologist Cindy Prins, a population health sciences professor at the University of Central Florida, said there is “no perpetual effect of COVID-19 vaccines on heredity. The vaccine does not make genetic changes to the egg or sperm that could be passed down to future generations.”

Prins and Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the vaccines protect pregnant women against the coronavirus. The experts said the women’s bodies, in turn, will make antibodies that can also protect their newborn children.

The experts also said vaccine side effects can’t be passed from mother to child.

Side effects “are not transmitted from one generation to another,” said Richard Watanabe, a University of Southern California professor of preventive medicine.

Prins said vaccine side effects “can’t have genetic repercussions or create inherited changes.” And, she added, “those side effects won’t create any changes in the body that can be passed down to children or grandchildren.”

We rate the claim that women vaccinated against COVID-19 face “unknown side effects that could perpetually go down through the lineage” to their children False.

This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. See the sources for this fact check here.

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Tom Kertscher is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. Previously, he was a fact-checker for PolitiFact Wisconsin.
Tom Kertscher

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