SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As vaccine availability and vaccination rates both increase, so have vaccine myths. Whether due to misguided concerns, ignorance or the deliberate and malicious spreading of misinformation, these conspiracies have spread, much like the virus itself, infecting many along the way.
Chances are that you have heard some, if not all, of these myths about the COVID-19 vaccine. It will make you infertile; it will cause you to miscarry; it inserts new DNA and changes your genetics; it’s a hoax to inject secret tracking chips into your blood.
KELOLAND News sat down with Avera Medical Group’s Vice President of Clinical Quality, Dr. David Basel, with one purpose in mind; to find out the truth.
Here’s what we learned.
The virus is not harmless.
In seeking out some of the myths and falsehoods that are spreading in our own community, we took to social media to search for claims made about the virus. Beneath a recent Tweet by Governor Kristi Noem, we found a wide variety of anti-vaccine claims and statements one of which speculated: “Why would anyone risk [vaccination] for such a benign virus?”
According to Dr. Basel, COVID-19 is anything but benign.
The vaccine will not cause a miscarriage.
In framing their question, the commenter stated that all they have heard about is hospitalizations and miscarriages after people have received the vaccine, clearly indicating a fear that the vaccine was causing people to miscarry. Basel says these fears are unfounded.
In fact, Basel says there are no concerns about the vaccines affecting fertility at the time of vaccination, or in the future for those who receive it.
Even if you’ve had COVID, you should still get the vaccine.
Even if you have had COVID-19 already, you should still get the vaccine. While contracting the virus does provide some short-term immunity, Basel says that that immunity is not going to cut it if you come into contact with a COVID-19 variant.
The vaccines will not alter your DNA.
One common conspiracy theory spread around about COVID vaccines centers around the fact that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both messenger-RNA, AKA mRNA, vaccines. Theorists say that this means the vaccine will enter into your DNA, altering your genes and causing a variety of issues.
This too, says Basel, is not a concern.
The vaccines cannot give you COVID.
Another common concern with the COVID vaccination is that by getting it, you run the risk of contracting COVID due to the idea that vaccines contain small or weakened amounts of the virus they are meant to protect against. While this may have been the case for substances such as the first smallpox vaccines, Basel says it is not true with the COVID vaccines.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, he says, contain no viral particles at all, while the newer Johnson & Johnson and Astrazeneca vaccines contain what could be described as a deactivated cold virus dressed up to look like a coronavirus.
The vaccines were not developed ‘too fast.’
One major concern many have cited with their wariness to get vaccinated is the speed with which the vaccines came to market. Basel says there are two areas in which vaccine prediction was rushed, but those are not areas which would affect researchers’ ability to determine a vaccine’s safety.
The real question he says, is how long our vaccine immunity will last.
The vaccines do not contain fetal tissue.
One concern for many comes down to an issue of morality. Some say they will not receive the vaccines because of the belief that they contain fetal tissue from unborn or aborted babies. According to Dr. Basel, this claim is not true, and the vaccines have, in fact, been cleared for moral use by the Vatican.
Children should get the vaccine.
A quick look through social media will turn up many instances of concerned parents, asking why children should receive the vaccine if they are less likely to experience severe illness from the virus.
Basel says that while it is true that children are less likely to suffer severe illness, there is still a risk of death from the virus. The main reason though, according to Basel, is kids ability to spread the virus.
The vaccines do not inject microchips into your blood.
Perhaps one of the more outlandish sounding conspiracies, this one is still widespread in its belief. The myth centers around the idea that the vaccines, and in some cases the virus itself, are all part of a plot to inject the population with tracking technology in order to subjugate humanity, or even to inflict some sort of mind-control.
On this subject, Basel was direct in his answer. There are no tracking chips in the vaccines.
Moving away form the topic of malicious conspiracy, Basel made it a point to shed light on some common subjects that he has seen as sources of confusion that may be keeping people away from vaccination sites.
- You will not have to pay in order to get vaccinated.
- Your immigration status is not their concern.