Since the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and the second wave of the pandemic in India, the rumour market has been buzzing around vaccination. This has led to people showing hesitancy at getting inoculated and that in turn has allowed the second wave to wreck more havoc on the country.
Since Edward Jenner’s discovery of the cowpox vaccine in 1796 anti-vaccine arguments have frequently been found in the literature. In this era of social media, anti-vaccination messages have got wings. The rapid development of coronavirus vaccines has only increased fears. WhatsApp messages or Facebook/Twitter timeline are filled with rumours, unscientific views and infodemic. People are more likely to see negative messages about vaccines on social media than positive
Disinformation around vaccines can endanger lives, so let us try to dispel some – any vaccine uses your body’s natural defences to build resistance to specific infections by training your immune system to create antibodies, just as it does when it’s exposed to a disease. However, because vaccines contain only dead or weakened forms of germs, they do not cause the disease or put you at risk of its complications. The immune system remembers the disease and if you are then exposed to the germ in the future, your immune system can quickly destroy it before you become unwell.
Adverse event following immunization (AEFI) is any untoward medical occurrence which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of the vaccine. Most vaccine adverse events are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. More serious adverse events occur rarely, on the order of one per thousands to one per millions of doses.
Here are fact-checks of some of the myths going around in social media.
Covid-19 Myths: Natural immune system is better than vaccine immunity
Fact: The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that intentionally exposing oneself to the virus can lead to more infections. The medical fraternity has raised concern in this regard as the antibody level in a body against the virus varies from person to person.
Covid-19 Myths: If you already had Covid-19, you don’t need the vaccine
Fact: While it’s true that being infected gives the body certain immunity against the virus but there is also evidence that this type of immunity is not long-lasting and the chances of catching the infection again are high.
Covid-19 Myths: The mRNA vaccine will alter your DNA
Fact: The mRNA vaccination is a method of eliciting a response from one’s immune system by introducing inactivated germs into immune systems, which prompts the body to build a specific kind of protein called spike protein, the crucial piece that combats the coronavirus. The protein does not enter the nucleus of the cell and thus cannot affect the DNA.
Covid-19 Myths: Herd immunity
Fact: Herd immunity is when the majority of people are immune to a disease, consequently making the spread unlikely. Herd immunity can be achieved only when the population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed from a previous infection.
Covid-19 Myths: Vaccines could give you blood clots right now
Fact: The recent discovery of blood clots in Denmark put the world in a tizzy and many, especially the elderly population worried about overtaking the dose. While the unfortunate side-effect has been taken into account, what we need to know right now is that the vaccines are largely safe for use. WHO does not account for blood clots as a possible side-effect right now as well. Similarly, those on blood thinners can also become hesitant to get the jab over the same fears. People with comorbidities should not fear getting the vaccine. Consult a doctor before getting the jab, if fears continue to disturb you.
Covid-19 Myths: COVID vaccines will make you infertile
Fact: If you are thinking of starting a family, there’s no reason to believe COVID vaccines would make you infertile. Infertility or sexual dysfunction isn’t a proven side-effect of COVID-19 or any other vaccines for that matter and neither is there enough clinical evidence to prove the same. The only group for whom vaccine use is restricted right now is pregnant women since they have a lower threshold of immunity. Remember, getting the jab saves you from a lot of many risks, and is definitely better than contracting COVID-19.
The Digpu News Bottomline
While the country and its grossly understaffed and ill-equipped healthcare system battle the second wave of this deadly virus, people have not been helping them by choosing not to get vaccinated. It is true that the vaccines are not available throughout the country but whosoever can, should get vaccinated as soon as possible. The daily death count in India is nearing 5000 and it’s time for you to book your shot, get inoculated and do your bit to help the frontline COVID warriors of the country.