Dispelling COVID-19 vaccine myths

Updated: Feb. 4, 2021 at 6:21 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Can the vaccine alter your DNA? Could it make a woman infertile? NBC12 spoke with Dr. Melissa Viray, Deputy Director for Richmond City and Henrico County Health Districts about common fears and rumors associated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Can it change your DNA?

Dr. Melissa Viray has heard nearly every false notion about the vaccine out there. She says first understanding how the vaccine works is important to dispel myths.

A small piece of genetic material is injected into our bodies, teaching our cells how to identify the coronavirus and produce antibodies to fight it. That small fragment is destroyed by the body soon after.

“It hangs out long enough for us to make this particular antibody, and then it goes away,” said Dr. Viray. “This particular kind of genetic fragment doesn’t even make it into where your DNA are in the cell.”

Can you contract COVID from the vaccine?

“In no way can this vaccine give you COVID-19. I think that’s a really important myth to bust upfront,” she said. “It’s not capable of causing infection.”

Were there any short cuts taken in researching the safety of the vaccine?

“While it was rapid, they didn’t get to skip any steps. (Researchers) had to go through all of the same steps for normal vaccine development and approval,” said Viray.

An enormous amount of money was poured into the research, allowing drug companies like Pfizer, Moderna and others to move forward without any pauses or funding gaps. Further, all the manufacturing equipment was made simultaneously in advance of the shot being approved. Once federal officials gave it a green light, the vaccine was ready to be mass-produced almost instantly.

Can the vaccine cause infertility in women?

“It doesn’t impact your fertility. The spiked protein has no resemblance to the proteins on your placenta. It does not generate an immune response against your own organs,” confirmed Viray.

How do we know that in 30 years, there won’t be any long term effects?

“Most of the events that we’ve seen from vaccine do show up in that first period right after vaccination,” said Dr. Viray.

Viray also says the way the vaccine works doesn’t lend itself to causing any long term effects.

Other vaccine myths Dr. Viray busted for us:

  • Food allergies don’t prevent you from getting a shot.
  • The vaccine is not a ploy by the government to somehow implant you with a microchip.
  • The vaccine was not produced or researched in any way using fetal tissue.
  • And you still need to wear a mask after you get both your shots.

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