A claim stating that the coronavirus vaccine contains pig fat as a stabiliser has gone viral on the internet. The claim tried to dissuade those from the Muslim community from taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
However, we found that the key vaccines which have been granted approval so far do not contain pig fat in them.
One of the captions with this viral claim reads, “क्या आप जानते हैं कि कोरोना के वैक्सीन को स्टेबलाइज रखने के लिए ""सुअर की चर्बी"" का इस्तेमाल किया जाता है ??”
[Translation: Do you know that "pig fat" is used to stabilise the corona vaccine?]
Another viral post dissuaded people from the Muslim community from taking the vaccine because it contains pig fat.
We also found news reports about the Indian Muslim organisations meeting to discuss the rumoured use of pig fat in the coronavirus vaccine.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We found reports that suggested that Indonesian Muslim clerics had sparked the debate on whether the COVID-19 vaccine was permissible for use under Islamic law. However, the United Arab Emirates' highest Islamic authority, the UAE Fatwa Council, on 23 December, said that coronavirus vaccines are permissible for Muslims even if they contain pork gelatin.
To check the viral claim, we studied the ingredients in the vaccine candidates that have been approved or are in the process of being approved around the world - Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca and the Indian-made Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine.
The list of the ingredients didn’t mention the use of pig fat or pork gelatin, a component that is often used to stabilise a vaccine’s ingredients and ensure its effectiveness.
According to Health Desk, a COVID-19 resource for journalists powered by public health experts, “the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca do not use pork gelatine in their formulas”.
The vaccine produced by Bharat Biotech, Covaxin, has also released its ingredients and it does not mention the use of pig fat in them.
The Health Desk further stated that while some companies are yet to release the list of ingredients in their vaccines, no company has specified the use of pork gelatine so far.
We reached out to the vaccine manufacturing companies for confirmation.
We received a response from Pfizer which said, “It [Pfizer vaccine] does not contain any animal products. The vaccine consists of synthetic and enzymatically produced components only.”
The copy will be updated with responses from other companies as and when we receive them.
The claim that the COVID-19 vaccine contains fats derived from pigs as a stabiliser is unfounded and none of the leading vaccine candidates who have released their list of ingredients mentions the use of pork gelatin.
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