8 coronavirus vaccine myths debunked, from microchipping to DNA changes

Woman holds vial labeled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" over dry ice in this illustration from December 5, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / illustration
Coronavirus conspiracy theories could deter people from getting vaccinated if not addressed.
There is no way the vaccines could alter your DNA, render you sterile, or give you COVID-19.
The vaccine is not forced on people who do not want it, nor does it contain a location tracking microchip.
After all, once you get your shot, you won't be protected from COVID-19. It will take time and widespread compliance before life is back to normal.
You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
With the U.S. approving and beginning distribution of two vaccines, the real challenge is making sure people get their shots - and quelling the misunderstandings and conspiracy theories that surround the vaccines.
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At least 75% to 85% of Americans must be vaccinated for life to return to an expert in pre-COVID-19 normal infectious diseases, said Dr. Anthony Fauci. Misinformation is a huge barrier to reaching this milestone as people may not want to get a shot that they don't trust or understand.
"It's not just a human interpretation problem," Bernice Hausman, author of Anti / Vax: Brushing Up on the Vaccine Controversy, told Insider earlier. "Fixing a lack of trust in government, drug companies and public health is a problem."
This lack of confidence has made people concerned about what is in the vaccine, what it can do to your body, and whether it is even necessary. So far, however, the main players have been transparent about how the vaccine works and what it can and cannot do.
Here we look at eight widely held but untrue myths and conspiracy theories about the vaccine and explain why they are not true.
1. mRNA vaccines cannot alter your DNA
On December 1, a political party called Advance New Zealand published on Facebook that mRNA vaccines "act directly on the patient's genetic material and therefore alter the individual's genetic material."
The group attributed this claim to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has promoted misinformation about vaccines in the past, but the AFP fact-checker found no evidence that he was linked to the case.
mRNA vaccines instruct the body to make a key protein in the coronavirus, which then attacks the immune system, and train it to fight off the virus itself. They don't work by getting into the body's genetic material, which is physically impossible.
As the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states in its recommendation on vaccination in pregnant and breastfeeding people, "These vaccines do not get into the nucleus and do not alter human DNA in vaccine recipients. As a result, mRNA vaccines cannot cause them." genetic changes. "
2. The vaccine won't make you sterile
A post shared on social media falsely claimed that Pfizer's new coronavirus vaccine could cause infertility in women.
The post promoted a misconception that the vaccine is spurring the immune system to attack both a protein in the coronavirus and a protein that is involved in placenta formation.
However, experts say there is no evidence that the vaccine could cause infertility and that the two proteins are not composed similarly enough to make the theory plausible.
While pregnant people have been banned from clinical trials and the exact effect the vaccines will have on this population remains to be seen, experts predict they will be safe because they are made from mRNA, not live viruses. Vaccines made only with live viruses are considered unsafe during pregnancy.
ACOG, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, says pregnant women who want the vaccine should be able to get it.
3. The vaccine does not contain a microchip
One of the wildest vaccine myths is that the shot has an injectable microchip in it that you can use to track your location - and Bill Gates had something to do with it.
The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist has been instrumental in vaccination campaigns past and present. This conspiracy theory, which researchers say may have come from InfoWars, is that Gates plans to use mass coronavirus vaccination to implant billions of people with microchips.
Both Pifzer and Moderna have published fact sheets detailing the ingredients of their coronavirus vaccines that did not mention tracking devices. Gates also assured reporters that the June conspiracy theory was wrong.
"It's almost hard to deny this stuff because it's so stupid or weird that even if you repeat it it gives credibility," Gates said in a media appeal in which $ 1.6 billion was used to fund Vaccinations in poor countries per USA Today were announced.
4. The federal government cannot get you to take the vaccine, although states, schools, and private employers could
While it is important that 75 to 85% of the population be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, it is extremely unlikely that the US government will require vaccinations to reach this milestone.
"They don't want to mandate and try to force someone to take the vaccine. We have never done that before," Fauci said on a livestream in August. You can mandate certain groups of people, such as health workers, but not the general population. "
A national vaccine mandate may not be an option, but states and cities have the power to require their residents to vaccinate. It is possible that COVID-19 hotspots will dictate that people get the vaccine or pay a fine.
Hospitals and universities in the past have also required staff and students to be vaccinated against hepatitis or meningitis. Since this poses a high risk for the spread of COVID-19, private or government agencies could enforce the mandates for coronavirus vaccines.
Other private employers may require - but are more likely to recommend - coronavirus vaccinations in the name of public safety, Business Insider previously reported.
5. The vaccine won't give you COVID-19, but it won't protect you right away either
Vaccines are designed to introduce a harmless amount of virus to your immune system so that your body can recognize the invader in the future. However, the coronavirus vaccines on the market do not contain the virus itself, only tiny bits of its genetic material that you cannot infect.
The process of vaccination can cause some temporary side effects, such as pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache and, in rare cases, fever. These reactions signal that the immune system is doing its job and they should not be confused with actual COVID-19 symptoms.
However, it will take a few weeks after your second vaccination (three to four weeks later) to develop antibodies that protect you from the virus. This means that there is a window of time that you can get infected with COVID-19 after vaccination. So once you get your shot, you shouldn't throw away your mask.
6. The vaccine was developed quickly, but the safety corners were not cut
The vaccines have been developed in unprecedented steps. "Under normal circumstances, a vaccine can take 10 years to manufacture. This time, multiple vaccines have been manufactured in less than a year," wrote Bill Gates in his recently published blog post.
But that's not because scientists were sloppy. "We were able to move extremely quickly without sacrificing security issues, without compromising and without compromising scientific integrity," said Dr. Anthony Fauci during a US News & World Report livestream.
Rather, the speed was made possible for three main reasons: First, because the two vaccines now approved are made from mRNA, a vaccine platform that could be developed much faster than traditional vaccines. Moderna scientists have been perfecting mRNA technology for years and included eight mRNA vaccines in clinical trials before the pandemic began.
Second, because countries and organizations immediately invested in stages of the development process instead of waiting for one step to be completed before funding the next.
"That said, if the vaccine worked, you saved a few months instead of waiting for it to work and then making the vaccine," Fauci said.
Additionally, scientists didn't start from scratch on coronavirus research. They were able to build on previous vaccination efforts for two other types of coronavirus, SARS and MERS, which were suspended as those outbreaks subsided.
7. A history of COVID-19 does not mean you should skip the vaccine
People who have had COVID-19 develop protective antibodies in response, but this method of protection isn't bulletproof and scientists don't know how long it will last.
As Tracy Hussell, professor of inflammatory diseases at the University of Manchester, wrote in an interview, the body's immune system was so overwhelmed in some hospital patients that it did not develop an efficient "immune memory". "" On the other hand, people with very mild infections may not have activated their immune systems to even develop such a memory.
While it may be sensible for some people who have recovered from the disease to stand behind more vulnerable people lining up for the vaccine, experts still recommend that they get the shot.
8. No, life will not go back to normal once we get our vaccines
While experts say the introduction of vaccines signals the beginning of the end, it doesn't mean that life will immediately return to normal before the pandemic.
"I think people's perception is that you are getting the vaccine and are safe, and eventually we can stop all this masking and social distancing and so on, but that's not reality," said Debra Goff, a pharmacist for Infectious diseases at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, Business Insider said.
The reality is that it will take time to find out how well the vaccine protects people around the vaccinated and is likely to last longer at the 75-85% herd immunity threshold that allows us all to fail our guards to let .
Even then, life will not be 100% normal until the whole world has reached this level of herd immunity. Fauci and Bill Gates agreed on a podcast last month that the Microsoft founder is collaborating with actress Rashida Jones.
"If we have the disease elsewhere in the world, I don't realize that we can go back and host big sporting events or open the bars because of the risk of re-infection, like in Australia or South Korea," Gates said. "As long as it is in the world, I am not sure that we will be completely normal again."
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