OMAHA, Neb. – As vaccination rollouts ramp up across the country, so is misinformation about the vaccines.
They’re hard to miss scrolling through social media, wild claims about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.
“Please don’t choose not to get this vaccination simply because of something you’ve seen on Facebook or Twitter,” said Dr. Kevin Reichmuth, Pulmonologist at Bryan Health said during Monday’s update on the Nebraska COVID-19 response.
Dr. David Brett-Major, a professor for the College of Public Health at UNMC said: “Elevate fears, sometimes, over observations.”
In our scrolling, 6 News found the fears and rumors tend to circulate around a few topics: microchipping, changing DNA, vaccine risk versus COVID risk, and infertility.
When it comes to microchipping, which some people refer to as GPS tracker, Brett-Major said that technology simply doesn’t exist.
“As a parent of teenagers, I’m deeply curious about whether or not that could actually be done. Although, the reality is my children are far more competent than I am, so maybe it wouldn’t be necessary.”
With the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines being the first of their kind — they use MRNA — the professor thinks it’s great people are questioning it and wanting to learn more, but wants people to know it won’t change DNA. He explains it like this: Imagine you place a food order off of a kiosk; the order is your DNA. The receipt you take to the cashier is your MRNA.
“The DNA does not then go back in and get back into the base code. It just doesn’t work that way. It’s just the receipt you take to the cashier,” he said.
Dr. Brett-Major thinks it’s important for people to do their own risk analysis when it comes to the vaccines versus the virus. Besides a handful of unexpected reactions — mostly to do with allergies — the side-effects of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are things like mild fever or discomfort in the arm you got the shot.
“For those people who are actually going to get symptomatic with COVID-19, the illness is way worse than what I just described,” Brett-Major said.
While all of those fears or rumors are present, he said it is infertility myths that are the most widespread.
“When adverse events had happened, that was observed in pregnancies, they were actually in the placebo group and not people who had received the vaccine,” Dr. Brett-Major said.
When it comes to anything you see surrounding the vaccines, whether it’s on social media or not, Dr. Brett-Major says it’s important to do research on the topic itself and the source where it’s coming from.
Dr. Brett-Major touched on the number of vaccines out there and reassures that’s a good thing. If a patient is allergic to one, a different one might work out better.