Microbiologist Destroys Dangerous Anti-Vaxx Myths In Minutes
As the first Covid-19 vaccines roll out across the world, one of the key challenges facing health officials is the storm of anti-vaccine propaganda spreading across social media.
Many experts are concerned that dangerous myths peddled by conspiracy theorists could convince vulnerable people to avoid getting the vaccine. Getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible is crucial to escaping the pandemic, so naturally scientists want to make sure that fake news about the vaccine doesn’t get a chance to spread.
Now, Technology Networks has taken the fight to disinformation campaigns, by getting a microbiologist to debunk some common myths about the vaccine. In a Q&A for the website, Dr Erik Yager, associate professor of Microbiology at the Center for Biopharmaceutical Education and Training, explained the reality of the vaccination process, and why you shouldn’t believe people who tell you the vaccine is more dangerous than the virus itself.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in particular have been the subject of several conspiracy theories, in part because they use a new type of vaccine technology called ‘mRNA’, which is developed by adapting part of Covid-19’s genetic code. Anti-vaxxers have claimed that this could rewrite our own DNA, however, as Dr Yager explains, ‘This type of vaccine cannot incorporate into our genome.’ He added that while our DNA can create mRNA proteins, ‘our body does not contain the machinery to go in the reverse from RNA to DNA’.
Dr Yager also reassured viewers that the vaccines are not toxic to the human body. Some anti-vaxxers have claimed that the vaccines contain high levels of dangerous substances like mercury and formaldehyde, but Dr Yager explains that ‘most of these materials are in such vanishingly small amounts or have been removed in the processing, that they pose no harm to us’.
He also dismissed the idea that it would be better to let communities develop ‘herd immunity’ by letting the virus spread naturally. This is an idea that was explored by some countries such as Sweden in the early days of the pandemic, however it has since been largely abandoned due to the high death rate associated with herd immunity, and danger of long-term health issues faced by Covid survivors.
Dr Yager also stressed that, although this vaccine has been developed faster than any in history, it has been tested just as thoroughly. Thousands of volunteers were given doses in clinical trials, which allowed developers to gather the data necessary to prove that the vaccines were both safe and effective, and Dr Yager praised the efforts of vaccines developers and volunteers to produce a working vaccine in under a year.
With the UK today approving a second vaccine, the roll-out is set to ramp up as we head in to 2021. So if you or someone you know is worried about getting the vaccine, this video should reassure you that there is nothing to worry about.
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