Did the FDA Approve a Heroin-Based Vaccine for Kids?

An infamous disinformation blog mined anti-vaccine conspiracies for a post in 2015 that was regurgitated online.

The “story,” which has since been deleted, originated in the reliably unreliable World News Daily Report. The premise of this particular post was that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) was promoting a heroin-based vaccine for chickenpox that would serve a “death blow” to the viral infection. It read in part:

Although the experimental drug has been highly criticized by some health advisory boards, specialists believe the benefits of eradicating chickenpox “dramatically [outweigh]” the “minute” chances of inducing heroin addiction in young children.

“The anti-microbial properties of heroin have been drastically underestimated and understudied because of the taboos concerning the illegal drug” explains Dr Yu Shi Jung, who took part in the 3-year test phase.

“Heroin tends to attach to the chickenpox virus which stimulates the body’s immune system to recognize the agent as a threat and destroys unwanted microorganisms” explains Dr Yu Shi Jung.

Although the FDA has approved the new vaccine, anti-vaccine groups have responded to the news with extreme prejudice.

In one respect, the mention of anti-vaccine groups’ reactions qualifies as the rare bit of prescient “satire” from the blog; after complaining throughout 2020 that vaccines against COVID-19 had been rushed through without FDA approval, right-wing politicians and broadcast outlets complained when the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on August 23 2021. As Vice reported:

During a House Freedom Caucus press conference Monday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene—who was recently suspended from Twitter for a week for spreading misinformation about COVID vaccines—called the FDA’s approval process “questionable.”

“The FDA sped it up, and I wonder was it Joe Biden himself making that call to approve the Pfizer vaccine that now, in studies, is showing only 40 percent effectiveness?” Greene said.

Meanwhile, as Media Matters reported, Fox News presenters like Laura Ingraham cast the vaccine’s approval as part of a more sinister plan by President Joe Biden’s administration:

“The FDA approved the Pfizer COVID vaccine today, I know you’re shocked,” she said at the top of a segment that started 51 minutes into her broadcast. “And of course, President Biden is using it as justification to take away your rights.”

Hosting one of her regular “Medicine Cabinet” guests, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Ingraham asked, “Professor, did they not push this FDA approval too fast, especially when you compare it to the normal approval process?”

“They did,” Bhattacharya replied. “Normally it would take years to get a vaccine tested and approved through the FDA approval process.” He later added that “the FDA approval does not change the fact that we don’t have long-term safety data with the vaccine.”

The vaccinations against the virus developed by Pfizer as well as Johnson and Johnson and Moderna had previously been approved for emergency use within the U.S.

Jeff Zients, who is coordinating the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response team, told reporters on August 24 2021 that around 450,000 Americans per day are receiving their first vaccine, an increase of nearly 200,000 people compared to July 2021.

Update 8/24/2021, 3:25 pm: This article has been revamped and updated. You can review the original here.