Thursday, January 6, 2022

Myth busters

Medical experts debunk COVID-19 vaccine misinformation

Michigan reported 61,235 new cases of COVID-19 and 298 virus-related deaths last Wednesday -- an average of 12,929 cases over a two-day period, a new state record for daily cases, in the final data update of 2021. The total number of confirmed COVID cases in Michigan to 1,568,573, including 27,286 deaths. These numbers are up from 1,481,480 cases and 26,650 deaths.

As Michigan continues to record high numbers of COVID-19 cases, new data from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) proves that the majority of Michigan residents severely sick with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and MHA are pleading with residents to get vaccinated for their own health, the safety of local health care personnel, and to avoid additional strain on health care systems already struggling to respond.

Rising COVID positivity rates have prompted Beaumont Health to take additional steps to protect inpatients, staff and visitors at all eight Beaumont Health hospitals, including Beaumont Wayne.

Beaumont will continue to welcome one support person/visitor each day, regardless of vaccination status, for patients who do not have COVID-19 and are also not suspected of having COVID-19. However, under the new guidelines, the support person cannot alternate with other people throughout the day without receiving prior approval from clinical leadership. This includes postpartum patients. The new guidelines became effective last week.

“The data is clear: if you are unvaccinated, you are risking hospitalization or death,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “We have a safe and effective vaccine that is quite literally saving lives. Michigan residents absolutely need to get vaccinated to keep their loved ones safe this holiday.”

Based on recent data from most Michigan health systems, MHA has found that three out of four COVID patients are unvaccinated (76 percent), 87 percent of COVID ICU patients are unvaccinated and 88 percent of COVID ventilator patients are unvaccinated.

“Michigan's health care systems are stretched beyond their limits - so much so that the U.S. Department of Defense is providing clinical staffing support to hospitals throughout the state that are operating at capacity, delaying nonemergency medical procedures and placing their emergency departments on diversion,” said Brian Peters, CEO of MHA. “This data confirms what the situation in our hospitals is already telling us: get vaccinated, whether it is your first dose, vaccination for your children or a booster dose.”

The most significant deterrent to vaccinations, experts said, is the misinformation and myths being perpetrated as “urban legends” about the vaccine. The Center for Disease Control recently issued a statement debunking many of the most common errors about the vaccine.

MYTH: The ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous.

FACT: Nearly all the ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines are also ingredients in many foods - fats, sugars, and salts. Exact vaccine ingredients vary by manufacturer. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines also contain messenger RNA (mRNA) and the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine contains a harmless version of a virus unrelated to the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Despite current rumors and misinformation, COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients like preservatives, tissues (like aborted fetal cells), antibiotics, food proteins, medicines, latex, or metals.

MYTH: The natural immunity I get from being sick with COVID-19 is better than the immunity I get from COVID-19 vaccination.

FACT: Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is a safer and more dependable way to build immunity to COVID-19 than getting sick with COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccination causes a more predictable immune response than infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine gives most people a high level of protection against COVID-19 and can provide added protection for people who already had COVID-19. One study showed that, for people who already had COVID-19, those who do not get vaccinated after their recovery are more than twice as likely to get COVID-19 again than those who get fully vaccinated after their recovery.

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines cause variants.

FACT: COVID-19 vaccines do not create or cause variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent new variants from emerging.

New variants of a virus happen because the virus that causes COVID-19 constantly changes through a natural ongoing process of mutation (change).  As the virus spreads, it has more opportunities to change. High vaccination coverage in a population reduces the spread of the virus and helps prevent new variants from emerging. 

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips.

FACT: COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips. Vaccines are developed to fight against disease and are not administered to track your movement.

Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first.

MYTH: Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine can make you magnetic.

FACT: Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm.

COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals.

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States shed or release their components.

FACT: Vaccine shedding is the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body and can only occur when a vaccine contains a live weakened version of the virus.

None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus. mRNA and viral vector vaccines are the two types of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines available.

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines can alter my DNA.

FACT: COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.

Both messenger RNA (mRNA) and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines work by delivering instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.

After the body produces an immune response, it discards all the vaccine ingredients just as it would discard any information that cells no longer need. This process is a part of normal body functioning.

MYTH: A COVID-19 vaccine can make me sick with COVID-19.

FACT: Because none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, the vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccine will make me sterile

Officials also noted that despite the urban legends, the vaccine has no impact on sterility or sexual function and is safe for pregnant women and those wishing to become pregnant.