Fact Check: Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel’s Remarks on Covid-19 Vaccines Shared with Misleading Claims

A video of Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel speaking at the World Economic Forum is widely shared on social media, claiming that Bancel has admitted that the company produced 100,000 Covid-19 vaccines in 2019, even before the start of pandemic. 

The video has been shared on Facebook with the same description. 

Here’s the link to the above post.


NewsMobile fact-checked the above claim, and found it to be MISLEADING. 

The entire video of the discussion has been uploaded on the official YouTube channel of the World Economic Forum, dated February 6, 2023. The video caption reads: “How can the world shift its Covid-19 strategy from pandemic response to endemic management and close the persistent gaps in access to diagnostics, therapeutics and health services?” At a 10-minute timestamp, Stéphane Bancel’s exact remarks can be heard. 

The moderator asks Bancel about the company’s current ability to manufacture variant-specific Covid vaccines. Bancel answers by first noting that “when the pandemic happened, Moderna had made 100,000 doses in 2019 for the whole year. And I remember walking after Davos into the office of my head of manufacturing and I say ‘how we make a billion dose next year?’ And he looks at me a bit funny and said: ‘What?’ I say, ‘yeah, we have to make a billion dose next year, there is going to be a pandemic.’”

Bancel has also clarified to AFP via e-mail that “This is totally incorrect… I said that volume-wise we made in total, across all our products in 2019, around 100,000 doses … and that we had to scale our manufacturing to one billion doses with Covid. That was a big challenge.”

Moderna began working on its Covid-19 vaccine shortly after the virus initially appeared in late 2019. After the World Health Organization proclaimed a global pandemic, clinical trials for Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine began in March 2020. The US Food and Drug Administration approved the injection for emergency use in December 2020, followed by full clearance in January 2021.

Thus, it is evident from the above information that Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel’s remarks are being shared with misleading claims. 

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