The COVID-19 vaccination process has begun in the United States. At South Lake Pediatrics, we have been lucky enough to have it offered to our staff by local health organizations. Trials are just beginning in children. We still don’t know when it will be available for our patients. However, as it is such a hot topic, we thought it worth discussing. There are a lot of conspiracy theories and disinformation out there on Tik Tok, Facebook, and other social media sites. We want to make sure our patients have the information needed to make informed decisions from reputable sites and sources. Here are a few common myths circulating in the community.
- “Microchips are in the vaccine to track us.” There are no microchips in the vaccines. Not only does the technology not exist to make microchips small enough to be hidden in the vaccine, “they” would somehow have had to get a dozen or more vaccine manufacturers spread across the globe to all agree to put microchips in their vaccines.
- “It is going to change my DNA.” Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are “mRNA” vaccines. mRNA is not the same as DNA and in no way can mRNA get into your DNA and change your genetics. The science behind this is quite in depth but, bottom line, it is not possible.
- “There is pork in the vaccine.” There is no pork product in either of the vaccines that are currently available. None at all. No animal product is used in either of the vaccines. Both vaccines are Halal.
- “The vaccine will give me COVID.” These vaccines are not live, attenuated viruses (or “live” vaccines) so they cannot “give” you COVID.
- “Getting it naturally is better.” This is the reason why we give all of the vaccines we give. Teaching the immune system to recognize an infection to help fight it before it can make us ill is the goal of all vaccines. COVID-19 has killed over 400,000 Americans so far. I cannot figure out why anyone thinks getting the infection to the vaccine would be preferential.
- “It is going to cause an overwhelming inflammatory response.” COVID (and all infectious diseases) can cause an inflammatory response. That inflammatory response going into overdrive is a reason why some people do so poorly or die from COVID. Science does not yet know the specific reason why COVID does this but there is no reason to think that the vaccine will cause the same reaction. The vaccine is not the virus. So far, more than 68 million doses have been given worldwide. There is no evidence yet that it will cause that dramatic inflammatory response.
- “It will cause infertility.” I am not on social media – anywhere. I had no idea this was a meme until recently. It apparently started as a Facebook post about the 132nd page of Pfizer’s vaccine report and it’s warnings about infertility. Problem is, that ISN’T A REAL REPORT. It has since been taken down by Facebook and labeled as false information. The short version is that the COVID spike protein that the vaccine targets looks nothing like the placenta and will not affect it. In fact, twenty-three women who were in the vaccine trial wound up getting pregnant. There were no poor outcomes for any of those who received the vaccine. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) is an organization for doctors whose job it is to help women get pregnant. The ASRM recommends that all women who plan on getting pregnant get the vaccine. Pregnancy is a risk factor for a bad outcome if you catch COVID so helping yourself not get COVID is a great suggestion.
What we know about the side effects of the vaccine are that they are very similar to side effects from most all vaccines. Pain and swelling at the injection site and general fatigue, chills, and fever are the most common. What we understand is that, for the most part, the side effects will be more prominent after the second dose. Certainly, there are incidences of severe allergic reactions, just as there are with all vaccines. So far, those reactions have been in people with a history of severe allergies.
South Lake Pediatrics, as an organization, strongly believes in vaccines and the science behind them. Below, please see the links to reputable sources for information on the vaccines and the potential harms that can occur. If we didn’t believe in the benefit of the vaccine, we ourselves wouldn’t be getting it and encouraging our entire South Lake family to do so. Vaccines are one of the best ways to make sure your family, coworkers, and friends have a diminished risk of catching COVID and dying from it. It is also the best way to get the whole state and country back into “normal mode” and opened to the full enjoyment of life. If you have additional questions about any vaccines, please reach out to your provider at South Lake Pediatrics by calling 952-401-8300.