In the latest fake news around COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination process, a video claiming that Pfizer has added Tromethamine, a ‘dangerous drug’, into its Pfizer vaccine for kids, is widely being shared on social media. The video further claims that Pfizer has done so after receiving the FDA’s approval to counter vaccine related heart attacks in children. A fact check by Newschecker has found the claim to be false.
The viral video claims “Right after getting approval to inject everyone’s children, Pfizer has added the dangerous drug Tromethamine to the already dangerous gene editing concoction. So called vaccines appear to be causing heart attacks in otherwise young and healthy recipients including pro-athletes. Tromethamine is used to stabilize blood in heart attack victims.” The video goes on to claim that the presence of Tromethamine in the vaccine for kids indicates the possibility of vaccine related heart attacks in children. The video also claims that Tromethamine, being a petrochemical, causes serious damage to the tissues.
The video features an article titled ‘FDA documents show Pfizer secretly added heart attack drug to children’s COVID vaccine’ featured on the website Newswars.com, launched by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who promises ‘bombshell news’ to its readers that ‘you won’t get from corporate controlled mainstream media’.
We found that the same video on ‘dangerous drugs’ in vaccine for kids has also carries an article by infowars.com, a far-right conspiracy theory website, also by Alex Jones. The video has also been posted on the website. It must be noted that Alex Jones has been found guilty in all four defamation cases filed by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting case. 6 teachers and 20 first graders were killed in mass shooting by a 20-year-old in Sandy Hook elementary school, Newton, Connecticut in 2012. Jones claimed that the whole episode was a conspiracy to impose gun restrictions and that the parents of the victims were ‘actors’.
The same video has been shared by multiple users on both Twitter and Facebook with similar claims that Pfizer has added Tromethamine to its vaccine for kids.
Fact Check/ Verification
To verify the veracity of the claim, Newschecker reached out to Pfizer. Clarifying that there were no changes in the manufacturing process of vaccine for kids in comparison with adult and adolescent doses, a Pfizer spokesperson clarified, “There are no changes in raw materials, mRNA, lipids or suppliers in the manufacturing of the drug substance and lipid nanoparticles (LNPs)”
“To enable extended storage time, an alternative buffer is being leveraged, known as a ‘tris buffer’. Simply put, this allows the mRNA to resist being degraded for a longer period of time before administration – meaning the pediatric vaccine can be stored for 2-8°C in commonly available refrigerators for up to 10 weeks. This buffer will also be used in the updated adult/adolescent 30mcg doses in due course, helping to ensure simplified handling of the vaccine across age groups,” they added.
Further, Newschecker spoke to one of India’s top Virologist and Professor of Microbiology at CMC Vellore, Dr Gagandeep Kang who explained that the compound in the vaccine for kids was not a dangerous one.
“Tromethamine is a weak basic compound that is used as a buffering agent to maintain the PH levels. It is not just used in vaccines but all kinds of solutions- eye drops for instance. Some may have allergic reactions to Tromethamine, but those cases are extremely rare,” Dr Kang said.
Speaking on the claim that Tromethamine, used in the vaccine for kids, can cause damage to tissues, Dr Kang, who also headed India’s task force on COVID vaccine said, “In a vaccine, buffering agents keep the ingredients stable. 0.5 ml (of vaccine) that is injected is a tiny amount of which, Tromethamine is one of the many components. Much of this Tromethamine is absorbed by the muscle on which it is injected. So the compound is not getting into the bloodstream, and is being absorbed by the muscle. So it is not enough to do damage.”
Newschecker also reached out to Dr Sarman Singh, the Director of AIIMS Bhopal, who clarified that while Tromethamine may be used to treat heart attack patients, its presence did not indicate the risk of one. “The company (Pfizer) mentions that it uses Tromethamine to stabilize the mRNA, which is the main component of the vaccine. As far as I know, Tromethamine is used in a very minuscule amount in the process of vaccines and not in vaccine,” Dr Singh said.
“Tromethamine is a commercially available injectable drug marketed in the name of THAM. The quantity of Tromethamine used in vaccines poses no or extremely low possibility of side effects, except in those who are allergic to it,” adds Dr Singh.
Viral video that claims that Tromethamine is added in the Pfizer vaccine for kids to prevent vaccine related heart attack is not true. While Tromethamine is used in the vaccine, it is used for stabilizing the components of the vaccine and is not dangerous as is being claimed.
Dr Gagandeep Kang, Professor of Microbiology, CMC Vellore
Dr Sarman Singh, Director, AIIMS Bhopal