Over the past year and a half, as we moved through the COVID pandemic, we all became increasingly aware of our health and that of our loved ones. We also have many health related questions and need a space where we can get scientific answers. To provide you with such a space to raise your questions and concerns, News18.com has developed the âHealth Hacksâ column, your one-stop information panel where all of your health-related questions, especially COVID, will be answered.
The column will be written by Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya (MBBS, MD), a medical epidemiologist and leading expert on COVID-19 disease and vaccines. In this bimonthly column, Dr Lahariya will tackle a topic and offer tailor-made solutions, meeting the health needs of your entire family – children, adolescents, adults and the elderly and all other members of your family.
In this week’s column, Dr Lahariya touched on the common vaccine myths that drive vaccine hesitancy, and some real concerns people have about immunization.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me magnetic powers?
COVID-19 vaccines don’t make a person magnetic, as some viral social media videos show. Experts have argued that it is very likely that these videos are tricks by individuals, to gain attention or to make their videos go viral. These people probably used oil or some other sticky material on the surface of the skin to hold the objects.
Scientifically speaking, COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field in the human body or at injection sites. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt or microelectronics, carbon nanotubes, semiconductors, etc. (It’s hilarious that I have to give this explanation!).
More importantly, we have to remember that the COVID-19 vaccine is given in a meager amount of 0.5ml, so even if this amount of pure metal is injected into the human body, it can make a person sick but not it. would not make / sound magnetic.
Can COVID-19 Vaccine Affect Women’s Fertility?
Vaccines do not cause infertility, neither in men nor in women. All licensed vaccines and their components are tested first on animals and then on humans (in multi-phase clinical trials) to see if they have any side effects. The vaccines are only allowed to be used after they have been shown to be safe and effective. Each COVID-19 vaccine has undergone clinical trials on 20,000 to 35,000 people, and since then more than 2 billion doses have been administered worldwide, including 350 million in India. There is no evidence that a COVID-19 vaccine (or any other licensed vaccine) impacts fertility in any way.
Since COVID-19 vaccines have only obtained emergency approval, their safety and efficacy is unreliable. Is it true?
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and trustworthy. It is true that some of the administrative processes have been speeded up; however, there was no compromise on the process to be followed in clinical trials. The safety of the vaccines is evaluated at each stage of the clinical trials and the effectiveness in phase 3 of the trials. Vaccine developers have used similar and even larger sample sizes for clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines than for many previously licensed vaccines.
Since the Emergency Use License (EUL), vaccines have been administered to millions of people around the world, and there are no major issues with COVID-19 vaccines. However, we must remember that every vaccine has a few minor or non-serious adverse events. However, the benefit of vaccination is much greater than the associated minimal risk. Regarding efficiency, overall a benchmark of 50% efficiency has been implemented. And all vaccines administered by EUL have reached this benchmark. Most vaccines are around 75% or more effective. The 50% threshold is reached even for emerging variants.
Are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine dangerous? Can it cause death?
We must remember that vaccines are external substances injected into the human body. Their role is to activate and train the immune system to protect itself from future infections and diseases. Therefore, most vaccines mimic the early symptoms of natural infections (without the risk of serious illness). These symptoms may include fever, fatigue, lethargy, and pain at the injection site, etc. This type of minor effect and a few rare serious side effects (all of which can be managed) are much less than the benefits of vaccines. Additionally, it is well known that the risk of death from vaccination is negligible compared to the known risk of death from COVID-19.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain a microchip to track the population?
The answer is no. There is no microchip in COVID-19 vaccines. This is one of many baseless conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines around the world. Scientists and vaccine experts have previously explained that the COVID vaccine does not contain any metals or microchips or has a magnet-like effect that produces electricity.
Is it true that the COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA?
No that’s not true. None of the COVID-19 vaccines can alter human DNA or the genetic code of a human. Currently, licensed COVID-19 vaccines activate our immune systems to produce antibodies through a range of approaches. However, some of these approaches were used for the first time in vaccine development (mRNA, viral vector and plasmid DNA); however, these are completely safe and have no ability to influence or modify human DNA. Vaccine material enters the human cell, but it does not enter the nucleus of the human cell. Therefore, the vaccine cannot interact with our DNA in any way.
In addition, mRNA vaccines do not contain the enzymes by which they can integrate into human DNA, so there is no risk to the genetic material. Experts have closely examined these aspects for many years and decades and concluded that vaccines cannot alter human DNA.
Can the first dose of vaccine give me enough antibodies against COVID-19?
Some COVID-19 vaccines, such as mRNA vaccines and viral vector vaccines may provide some protection after a single dose, which may last for a few weeks. A few additional vaccines are being considered for a single dose license. However, there are no data available on the efficacy of inactivated vaccines after a single dose. Until more scientific evidence becomes available, it is essential that people stick to the immunization schedule and take the second dose, according to the recommended schedule, to get the full benefit from immunization.
Can the vaccine give a person COVID-19?
None of the licensed / licensed vaccines contain a live virus that can infect a person and cause COVID-19. However, since a dose of vaccine takes 2-3 weeks after vaccination for the body to develop immunity, it is possible for a person to be naturally infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or right after. vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection, but that does not mean that the vaccine gave or made the person sick with COVID-19.
Will the pandemic stop since we have started taking vaccines now?
Vaccinating as many people as possible is seen as an important way to reduce the impact of the virus. However, for the pandemic to end, the transmission of the virus must be stopped, in all regions of the world. This requires building up population level immunity (where vaccination would be helpful) and adopting appropriate COVID behavior (which will break the chain). We need to focus on both.
Does the vaccine contain ingredients of animal origin?
Some vaccines (and not all) undergo a process in which vaccine material is grown on specific cells grown in the laboratory, using animal products. However, these animal products are not included in the finished vaccine material administered to humans.
Can I get a second injection of a different vaccine?
In India, at present, interchangeability of vaccines is not allowed. You should receive the second injection of the same vaccine that was given for the first injection. However, a few studies have been carried out in Spain and the UK, where the safety and immunogenicity of different vaccines for the first and second injection have been investigated. The Oxford / Astra Zeneca and mRNA vaccines have been used interchangeably and have been shown to be safe and immunogenic. Several countries have started and approved the use of a different vaccine for the second injection.
Can COVID-19 vaccines be given to pregnant women?
On July 2, 2021, the Indian government approved the use of COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women. Evidence has emerged that pregnant women have a higher risk of serious illness and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm delivery. Therefore, it has been recommended that the benefit of vaccination in pregnant women outweighs any possible risk. COVID-19 vaccines are also recommended for nursing mothers.
Vaccination of breastfeeding mothers may indirectly benefit the breastfed child as secretive immunoglobulin A (IgA) in breast milk, which may also protect the child. Therefore, pregnant women and nursing mothers are recommended to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
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