History was made this week when the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine and the first doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech jab, made in Germany, are set to arrive in Britain and will be dispatched to 50 hospitals in the coming days.
As a consequence of the swiftness of development and anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories spreading online, there’s a tremendous amount of tension around the new vaccine.
Tom Phillips, from the leading fact-checker charity Full Fact, warned that since the beginning of the pandemic, they have seen wave after wave of misinformation which damages confidence in potential coronavirus vaccines and that bad information destroys lives.
He said that in previous pandemics and health situations around the globe, this type of misinformation has cost lives.
So, at Metro.co.uk they’ve done some research to discover the truth behind the main rumours on the internet and here are some myths that have been discredited:
That the vaccine alters your DNA – the main conspiracy theory about the vaccine presently is that it will change your DNA and a Facebook post asserts that the new vaccine for COVID 19 will alter your DNA and that it will encase itself into your structure and that you’ll become a genetically modified human being.
But this is not correct. However, it doesn’t clarify accurately how this type of jab works.
The Pfizer vaccine, alongside the preponderance of the COVID 19 vaccine candidates, is an RNA injection.
Conventional vaccines are created using weakened forms of the virus, but RNA based jabs instead use the virus’s genetic code.
When a person is injected, a molecule is introduced into the body which tells cells to produce a coronavirus spike protein and this protein, or antigen is then recognised by the immune system which produces antibodies and T cells in preparation against the infection.
It means if a person gets COVID 19, these antibodies are then triggered to combat the virus. It doesn’t alter the body’s DNA or swathe itself into your system.
RNA vaccines are normally viewed positively as they don’t involve using part of the virus itself and are affordable.
The Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine is not an RNA vaccine but instead uses an innocuous cold virus from chimpanzees modified in a lab to look like coronavirus when it enters the body.
Another claim suggests that the Pfizer jab is too cold to be a real vaccine and that it’s alive.
It is correct that the vaccine has to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, but that’s just to prevent it from spoiling – no vaccine is alive and the coronavirus vaccine isn’t the only vaccine which needs to be stored at extremely low temperatures, the Ebola vaccine had to be transported at -60 degrees Celsius.
However, it’s difficult to sort out which whoppers are spewing propaganda, but should people be having a non-liable experimental mRNA vaccine with unknown long term side effects? Assuming that people will be heading out to get the vaccine.
Sadly nothing will ever persuade the tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists that they might be wrong, on the other hand, they could be right, or are we all just sheep?
Although I don’t believe they sell tin foil hats anymore and sheep are good at making yarn from, although allowing the sheep not to be sheared could encumber them quite a bit.
And Pfizer isn’t squeaky clean, all you have to do is look at their track record.
Pfizer and its subsidiary Pharmacia & Upjohn Company paid $2.3 billion to settle criminal and civil liabilities for illegal promotion of their pharmaceutical products.
The amount included payment of more than $102 million in civil settlement to six whistleblowers of the company’s dishonest practices in 2009.
Bextra, an anti-inflammatory drug was removed from the market in 2005 due to safety concerns, which was marketed by the company for various off label uses.
The company also illegally promoted several other drugs, including antipsychotic drugs Geodin, antibiotic Zyvox, and antiepileptic drug Lyrica.
Healthcare providers received payments for prescribing these drugs to patients for off label use and fraudulent claims were submitted to government healthcare programmes, circumventing the insurance programmes.
The company had to pay approximately $1 billion to Medicare, Medicaid, and other government insurance programmes under the settlement.