The definitions of vaccine and gene therapy as listed by the FDA, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the World Health Organization, and the French Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament (ANSM). Of these, the ANSM and EMA specify that a vaccine must contain one or more antigens.
Based on that definition, mRNA shots do not qualify as vaccines in France and Europe, because they don’t contain antigens. The active substance that elicits a downstream immune response is mRNA. The mRNA instructs your cells to produce the antigen. The mRNA is not an antigen in and of itself. In the case of COVID-19, the antigen being produced downstream is a modified SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated definition 10, a vaccine is a preparation that stimulates an immune response against disease. The classical definition specified that a vaccine would result in immunity against the disease in question, but this specificity was removed to accommodate the COVID shots.11
Still, the mRNA injections clearly fall under the FDA’s definition of gene therapy, because gene therapy:12
“… seeks to modify or manipulate the expression of a gene or to alter the biological properties of living cells for therapeutic use. Gene therapy is a technique that modifies a person’s genes to treat or cure disease …”
Note that gene therapy covers two different modes of operation. Gene therapy is something that either alters the biological properties of living cells and/or modifies your genes. This means that even if the product does not modify your genes, it’s still a gene therapy if it modifies the properties of cells, which is precisely what the COVID shots do.