I Am Legend screenwriter and executive producer Akiva Goldsman issued a straight-forward response to people who have used the plot of the 2007 film he co-wrote to fuel baseless conspiracy theories that the COVID-19 vaccine will eventually turn you into a zombie.
“Oh. My. God. It’s a movie. I made that up. It’s. Not. Real,” Goldsman replied on Twitter.
Goldsman’s response comes after Vera Bergengruen, Time political correspondent for Washington, D.C., shared a screenshot from a New York Times piece where the few remaining unvaccinated employees at an eyewear store in the Bronx spoke about what has contributed to their skepticism about getting the vaccine.
One employee said she was concerned because she remembers that in I Am Legend, those who took the vaccine turned into zombies. The actual plot involves people turning into zombies after receiving a genetically re-engineered measles virus that was meant to cure cancer. Soon, Bergengruen ventured down the rabbit hole and realized that this wasn’t just one person’s thinking, but rather a popular belief among anti-vaxxers.
The COVID-19 vaccine isn’t genetically modified from a previous virus. According to the CDC, the mRNA vaccine’s chief purpose is to teach our cells how to make a spike protein, which is used to help the immune system identify when the coronavirus has entered our bodies, and trigger a response that will produce antibodies to combat infection.
While people are only beginning to learn about mRNA vaccines, researchers have been working on it for quite some time as a response to previously known viruses, like rabies and Zika. In wake of the pandemic, scientists waited for necessary information regarding COVID-19 before beginning production on a vaccine that would specifically address the virus’ spike protein.