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Yes, the Moderna vaccine has SM-102 but it's not dangerous

An online claim states that the COVID-19 vaccines contain a substance not suitable for humans, but experts say that's not true.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some people still have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, including questions about what is in them.

WCNC Charlotte viewer Elaine C. recently reached out about a claim she saw, which stated the vaccines have an ingredient considered to be poisonous.

Credit: WCNC

The Question

Do any of the COVID-19 vaccines contain SM-102? Is SM-102 a poison?


  • Dr. Jane Kelly, Assistant State Epidemiologist, South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control
  • Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine ingredient list
  • Cayman Chemical, which makes SM-102

The Answer

Yes, Moderna's vaccine contains SM-102, but SM-102 is not considered dangerous.

"The Moderna vaccine does contain SM-102, which is a lipid, a fat, an oil," said Kelly. "SM-102 is safe for humans in vaccines."

So from where might the misinformation have emerged?

On Cayman Chemical's site, the company describes SM-102's chemistry, including a warning that says, "Product not for human or veterinary use." However, there's a link to click for an accompanying statement, which explains the company's safety warning has to do with chloroform, which is mixed with SM-102 for shipping.

The company goes on to write that several safety agencies do not list any hazards associated with SM-102 itself.

Kelly states the version of the lipid in the vaccines is safe, and a check of the Moderna ingredient list shows no chloroform, just SM-102, along with other safe ingredients.

Moderna lists its coronavirus vaccine ingredients as "messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate trihydrate, and sucrose."

"There were three other oils, four salts, and a sugar, and that's it. Nothing that would be dangerous," Kelly said.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.

Contact Vanessa Ruffes at vruffes@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


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