Getting COVID-19 vaccine won’t cause infertility: Don’t believe these myths too
One of the widespread rumours about COVID-19 vaccines is that they can cause infertility. WHO's Dr Katherine O'Brien busted this and other vaccine myths as well as explained the science and facts behind them.
As countries roll out COVID-19 vaccination in the hope to stop the pandemic, a lot of rumours and myths are doing the rounds about the vaccines. One of the widespread rumours is that getting COVID-19 vaccines can cause infertility. WHO's Dr Katherine O'Brien busted this rumour and other myths related to COVID-19 vaccine and explained the science and facts behind them in episode 24 of 'Science in 5'.
Science in 5 is WHO's conversation in science, where experts explain the science related to COVID-19. In the latest episode titled 'vaccine myths vs science', Dr. Katherine O' Brien Director of WHO's Department of Immunization, Vaccines & Biologicals busted the vaccine myths related to infertility, DNA and composition of vaccines.
"The vaccines we give cannot cause infertility. This is a rumour that has gone around about many different vaccines and there's no truth to the rumour. There's no vaccine that causes infertility," Dr. O' Brien told 'Science in 5' host Vismita Gupta Smith.
In addition, Dr. O' Brien shed light on two other myths related to COVID-19 vaccine.
Myth: mRNA vaccines can change the DNA of our human cells
According to Dr. O' Brien, most vaccines are developed by using a protein or a small, tiny component of the disease-causing pathogen to stimulate the body's immune response against it. mRNA technology is a new approach where instead of using that tiny little part, it gives instructions to the body to make a protein to trigger natural immune response against the germ ( for example SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19).
" there's no way that mRNA vaccines can change the DNA of our human cells," Dr. O' Brien stated.
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Since only part of the protein is made, it does not do any harm to the person vaccinated but it is antigenic.
Because mRNA vaccines do not contain a live virus, they do not carry a risk of causing disease in the vaccinated person. Also, as mRNA from the vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, it does not affect or interact with a person's DNA, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its website.
Notably, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines are developed using this technology. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle.
Myth: The chemicals in vaccines can harm people
This is another rumour about COVID-19 vaccines that is apparently discouraging people from taking the shot. Debunking this myth, Dr. O' Brien noted that the COVID-19 vaccines that we have now are safe for humans.
"All the components that go into vaccines are heavily tested to be sure that everything that is in there, at the dose that is in there, is safe for humans. The vaccines do contain a number of different elements and each of them is tested."
Before the vaccines are given to a human, they're tested in animals and they're tested for any kind of problem in the animal. And only then do they go into humans. The vaccines are tested in clinical trials tens of thousands of people receiving the vaccines eventually before they're authorized for use in the general public she elaborated.
Safety is the most important part of these clinical trials and every single vaccine goes through a safety evaluation to be sure that it's safe before it's used in the general public.
"In addition to that, the manufacturing of the vaccines has a constant oversight of quality so that every single ingredient that goes into the vaccine is assured to be of the highest quality and safe for use in humans," the expert added.
India launched what is believed to be the world's largest COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16, 2021. As of February 7, total 57,75,322 people have been vaccinated in the country. It is targeting to immunise 30 crore citizens by August this year.