COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Misinformation about coronavirus vaccines continues to circulate, even before vaccine approvals started.
ABC 17 News spoke with Dr. Christelle Ilboudo, infection disease expert at MU Health Care about some of the myths you shouldn’t fall for.
Question: One reason why people say they are not comfortable with getting the vaccine was rushed.
Dr. Ilboudo: It went through the same process that all other vaccines have to go through. It went through a rigorous safety process with the FDA; looking at the data, making sure that it is safe to give to people. Then it went through another process for recommendations on who to give it to with the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for the US.
What made this vaccine come out so fast is the technology that used allowed them to get it out faster, and also the fact that multiple steps of the process were done simultaneously. So as soon as they had a good working vaccine, they were able to produce it in mass and make it available.
Question: Vaccine edits your DNA
Dr. Ilboudo: That is not true. So I think when people hear the word mRNA, they automatically think of genetic material, and they think DNA. Basically, what mRNA is it’s an instruction for your body's ability to make proteins. So this mRNA is only going towards your cells to make the spike protein mimic the virus or the infection. So your body can react to it appropriately, it does not go inside the nucleus of your cells, it does not mix with your DNA.
Question: Vaccine causes infertility in women, men
Dr. Ilboudo: That is not true either. You know there are some similarities that people have found between the spike protein and some of the protein that is found in the placental tissue. However, the similarities are so small, that it just doesn't ring true. If it's truly similar, then we would have seen a lot of cases of infertility related to the infection alone. Again because what we are mimicking is the spike protein. That is what the virus naturally makes. I just don't have the evidence. I haven't seen the evidence that that is true.
Question: Vaccine causes COVID-19
Dr. Ilboudo: Yeah, that is also not true. The vaccine can cause some symptoms that are similar to COVID-19; such as muscle aches, fatigue, headaches. The vaccine doesn't give people runny noses, it doesn't cause you to have a sore throat, there is no live virus in it. So even for people whose immune system may not be up to par, we will worry about giving them a live virus but this is not a live virus vaccine, and so will not give people the disease.
Question: People weren't followed long enough after getting the vaccine.
Dr. Ilboudo: That is true. In the midst of a pandemic, this is also a very new virus, I call it a baby virus. It's about a year old or will be a year old soon. So there is a lot that we have yet to learn about the virus and there is certainly a lot that we have yet to learn about the vaccine. In emergency situations like this, if there is enough data to show benefits that outweigh the risks in the tragedies that we’ve seen, then the regulatory bodies will allow us to use these therapies to save those lives. As we go on, we can continue to collect data. I know the trials have at least six months of data or six months they've enrolled their patients. There is more to come as we get more data from the original people who are in the clinical trials, but also from the people who are now getting the vaccines in the public.
Question: People with allergies can’t get it?
Dr. Ilboudo: Yes, absolutely. So when they talk about anaphylactic shock or have really bad reactions there are typically reactions to medications that are given. So for those people, they have to be careful. If they had a previous allergy, or bad reaction, including, you know, swollen lips difficulty breathing, then we have to be careful about giving them the vaccine. However, if it's somebody who has you know, hay fever or seasonal allergies, that's not the type of allergies that we worry about. Those people, if they're eligible, can get the vaccine.
Question: Bell’s palsy was a reaction in some of the trials what do we know about that?
Dr. Ilboudo: I haven't seen the specifics of those cases. What I can say that in the context of vaccinating hundreds of 1000s of people, we only have two out of three, to me, it tells me that the process is working, that they are diligently looking at every single case that is reported. Sometimes we hear things reported after vaccination that may not be related. You know, the classic silly example that I give is somebody reports that they got into a car accident after they got a vaccine, not related, but they're in a clinical trial situation, that's you have to look at that to make sure that it is not the vaccine that caused it. So it could be related but not actually caused by the vaccine.
Again, you know never say never. We have to take into account that those cases have happened, but on the offset looking at it overall, given the hundreds of 1000s of people who have gotten it, and contrasting that to what COVID-19 can do to someone. I think that if people are really considering that they should talk to their doctor about whether or not they should get the vaccine and get good advice on what to do.