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Local medical expert busts myths about the COVID-19 vaccine

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Since the start of Florida’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan, medical experts at a variety of hospitals are saying they are alarmed to see how quickly misinformation about the vaccine is spreading online.

We talked to one medical expert ready to dismiss the Top Five myths she is seeing circulate on social media and why she says combatting them with accurate information is a priority.

“It does have very serious downstream (of) consequences. We have seen this in the past with measles outbreaks, so combatting that now for COVID-19 is even more important,” said Rachel Guran, Memorial Healthcare System’s director of epidemology and infection prevention.

The COVID-19 vaccine mythbuster, Guran, said the vaccine misinformation is traveling just as fast as COVID-19.

Myth 1: The COVID-19 Vaccine Will Affect Fertility

“This is a very serious one, especially with people who are in my age group, women and men in their 30s and 40s, who want to have more children or who haven’t had any children yet. It is important to let them know this myth is not founded on any type of science. There is nothing to suggest that what the COVID-19 vaccine is made of would have any effect on somebody’s fertility, as well as pregnant or breast-feeding moms. It is not a contraindication a condition or factor that serves as a reason to withhold a certain medical treatment due to the harm that it would cause the patient — for them to get the vaccine as well. There is pseudoscience related to the way the mRNA vaccine would work and its similar to the types of cells that are in your uterus, but there is nothing to suggest that our body is not smart enough to know the difference between the antibody response and our uterus cells.”

Myth 2: It Was Developed Too Fast

“There is nothing to suggest that the Food and Drug Administration took any shortcuts as well as the Centers for Disease Control and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the advisory committee on immunization practices. They are made up of separate independent scientists and physicians and are not anybody who are bought and paid for and they are the ones who are reading the data and making the recommendations.”

Myth 3: I Have Allergies, So I Can’t Get The Vaccine

“We have seen reports of people with severe allergic reactions who are having (reactions) after the COVID-19 vaccine, but so far the only contraindications, people who should not get the vaccine, are people who have a severe allergic reaction to the ingredients that are found in the vaccine. This is a very easily obtained list of what those ingredients are, otherwise if you have a history of allergies to medications or anything else, you can still get the vaccine, there is just a precaution — you will have to wait 30 minutes after the vaccine (so medical personnel) can make sure you are OK.”

What are the ingredients in the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine?

“The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine includes the following ingredients: mRNA,lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassiumphosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.”

(See the Pfizer fact sheet given to people before they get the vaccine)

What are the ingredients in the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine?

“The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine contains the following ingredients: messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose.”

(See the Moderna fact sheet given to people before they get the vaccine)

Myth 4: The COVID-19 Vaccine Will Give Me COVID

“The COVID-19 vaccine is not a live virus so it cannot give you COVID.”

Myth 5: Now That There’s a Vaccine, I Don’t Have To Wear a Mask

“Until we do have widespread adoption of the vaccine so that it is accessible and we learn how the vaccine really protects us, we need to keep masking and physically distancing. We do have to continue all of those things to make sure our pandemic ends. We want to get back to normal. The vaccine is the way we can get back to normal.”

What’s the final takeaway to dash these myths?

“Look at reputable sources — that would be the CDC and the FDA — your physicians and pharmacists and people who are really supplying that good, reliable and accurate information .”

And if you have a question, talk to your doctor not your Facebook friend.

Related links

List of cases by city in South Florida

Find a COVID-19 testing site near you

Hospital bed capacity and availability

Coronavirus cases in Florida schools

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About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."