No, COVID-19 vaccines do not cause coronavirus variants

IMAGE: Namibia Fact Check / WhatsApp

Viral posts quoting a Nobel laureate on social media have falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccines are causing coronavirus variants to emerge.

Viral posts that have been circulating on social media and in WhatsApp groups claim that French Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier stated that everyone vaccinated against COVID-19 would be dead within two years and that COVID-19 vaccines were causing SARS-CoV-2 variants to emerge. 

The viral posts are different versions of the following:

Screenshot of a viral post circulating in WhatsApp and social media groups.

On the first claim – that everyone vaccinated against COVID-19 would be dead within two years – the viral posts state:

All Vaccinated people will die within 2 years

Nobel Prize Winner Luc Montagnier has confirmed that there is no chance of survival for people who have received any form of the vaccine. In the shocking interview, the world’s top virologist stated blankly: “there is no hope, and no possible treatment for those who have been vaccinated already. We must be prepared to incinerate the bodies.”

But even the COVID-19 denying, anti-vaccine American website,, that initially amplified the Montagnier statements has come out and denied that Montagnier made such a claim.

Screenshot of an article in which the amplifiers of Montagnier’s statements deny that he claimed vaccinated people would die within two years.

And, in fact, the article from that is linked to in the viral posts, and in which Montagnier is extensively quoted, does not have any passages containing either the quoted texts in the posts or any text that states that Montagnier said that vaccinated people would die within two years of being inoculated against COVID-19.

So, it is false that Luc Montagnier said that everyone vaccinated against COVID-19 would be dead within two years after vaccination.

On the second claim ascribed to Luc Montagnier – that COVID-19 vaccines were causing SARS-CoV-2 variants to emerge – this is patently false, according to experts.

According to a detailed online explainer by the World Health Organization (WHO), virus variants emerge in the following way:

“When a virus is widely circulating in a population and causing many infections, the likelihood of the virus mutating increases. The more opportunities a virus has to spread, the more it replicates – and the more opportunities it has to undergo changes.”

And the WHO goes on to state of the impact of variants on vaccines:

“The COVID-19 vaccines that are currently in development or have been approved are expected to provide at least some protection against new virus variants because these vaccines elicit a broad immune response involving a range of antibodies and cells. Therefore, changes or mutations in the virus should not make vaccines completely ineffective. In the event that any of these vaccines prove to be less effective against one or more variants, it will be possible to change the composition of the vaccines to protect against these variants.”

So, the Luc Montagnier claim that COVID-19 vaccines were causing SARS-CoV-2 variants to emerge is false too. 

In case you’re interested, here are some good fact checks of the viral claims ascribed to Luc Montagnier’s by Indian fact checker BOOM Live and by European news channel EuroNews. And here’s another debunk from Newswise.

Namibian social media and WhatsApp users are once again cautioned against just forwarding or sharing content or posts without verifying the information. Spreading such falsehoods could have severe negative health consequences for some. 

The statements, information and/or data referenced in this article have been assessed and found to be false.

27th May 2021

Frederico Links

Frederico Links is the editor and lead researcher of Namibia Fact Check and a research associate at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)