Days after Pfizer rolled out its injectable COVID-19 vaccine, several Twitter users shared a claim suggesting that the pharma company issued a ‘vape vaccine’. The viral claim includes images of a newly packed coronavirus vaccine termed “vaporizer cartridge”. Another highlight in the claim’s image includes the tag, “Made in China” on the bottom-right corner of the package.
The viral image shows a liquid-filled cartridge in a sealed pack with Pfizer’s logo. The package also mentions the pharma company as Makers of “The Boner Pill”.
Many other users have shared this claim. You can view the same here.
We received this claim multiple times on our Whatsapp verification helpline number as well.
On the other hand, a few Twitter users shared an alleged original image of the claim, which does not include the ‘Made in China’ tag. However, many have now deleted this image.
This is in view of the Coronavirus Disease 2019, which has infected around 7.8 crore people and taken 17 lakh lives worldwide, as per John Hopkins University COVID-19 Dashboard on 23 December. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused COVID-19 is known to have originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
Fact Check/ Verification
We first reached out to Pfizer to clarify the authenticity of the claim and image. Pfizer refuted the claim in an email response, saying that “the image below is not a real Pfizer product.” And confirmed that the image with the viral claim is fake.
Continuing our research, we found that the real COVID-19 vaccine by the American pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, is manufactured in collaboration with BioNTech, a German company. As per the United States health agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine is named “BNT162b2”.
Contrary to the claim’s image which shows the Pfizer product to be a vaporizer (generally inhaled through the nose or mouth), the company’s vaccine is in fact an injection given into the upper arm as two doses at least 21 days apart. The National Health Service also includes information on its use and safety in the United Kingdom.
Additionally, Pfizer’s website does not include any vaccine named “vaporizer cartridge”. The website also clearly states that “the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has not been approved or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for use in individuals 16 years of age and older.”
Recently, Pfizer also released a statement on their vaccine’s production and distribution.
You can read more about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in New Scientist’s explainer here.
More On The Viral Image
Given what we know about the global pharmaceutical company and the vaccine, we noticed a few odd elements on the viral image. First, the name of the vaccine, BNT162b2, which we mentioned earlier isn’t written anywhere on the package. Second, the vaccine is an injection to be administered in two doses whereas the viral image shows it as a vaporizer for a single dose.
Next, the package shows no mention of BioNTech on it though the tagline “Makers of the boner pill” makes its way on it, likely as a joke. Finally, the vaccine is being manufactured in the US and Belgium with no mention of China in this regard in its official statement.
The viral image appeared in a Reddit Community called “fakecartridges” three days back.
We debunked this claim in our Hindi fact-check as well.
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer has not made its COVID-19 vaccine as a ‘vaporizer cartridge’ nor was it ‘Made in China’. The product in the claim’s image is fake.
Email response by Pfizer
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html
National Health Service, UK: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine press release: https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-and-biontech-celebrate-historic-first-authorization
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