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PolitiFact FL: State has not taken steps to ban COVID-19 vaccines

A person holds a shot.
Esteban Felix
The COVID-19 vaccine will be updated in hopes of targeting the strains of omicron that will be circulating later this year.

A July 17 Instagram post claimed Florida is poised to prohibit COVID-19 vaccines because they are bioweapons.

"Florida to ban mRNA vaccines as credible evidence of biological weapons," said the image of a tweet shared in the post.

The Instagram post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The claim is based on the latest instance of county Republican Party leaders in Florida claiming that the vaccines are bioweapons and calling for them to be banned.

Florida state officials have not moved to enact such a ban.

The tweet included video from a July 13 news report on WPEC-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The television version of the report said Republican Party leaders in Brevard County, Florida, would vote to send a letter to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature. The letter asked the officials to ban mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and claimed that the vaccines are a "biological weapon."

An updated version of the story on the station’s website said the county party’s executive committee approved sending the letter.

At least eight local Republican parties in Florida have made the claim about the vaccines and called for them to be banned.

The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines. The m in mRNA stands for messenger, and the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 involve injecting genetic material into cells that produce coronavirus proteins that then trigger an immune response, teaching the body how to fight off a real COVID-19 infection.

The mRNA vaccines were tested in humans. They do not alter DNA.

More than 672 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States and serious health effects linked to them are rare, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In May, DeSantis signed bills prohibiting mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

But with no evidence that Florida state officials have announced any action to ban the vaccines themselves, we rate the post False.

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