You may have heard some strange things about Covid vaccine. Do you think it might contain microchips? Did you hear that it could keep women from getting pregnant? These are surprisingly common fears. Although they may seem silly to some of us, these ideas, or myths, are keeping quite a few people from getting vaccinated. These myths started with misunderstandings, which became rumors, then spread through the Internet.
Perhaps the strangest fear is the idea that “Bill Gates is putting microchips into Covid vaccine.” This idea first appeared after Bill Gates, founder of the huge software company;op- Microsoft, said in an interview that it would be a good idea to have a national database for vaccinations. This actually makes perfectly good sense, and it’s not a new idea. Vaccination databases already exist in many states, but each database is limited to one state and can’t be used by vaccine providers in other states. If there was a single, national vaccination database, people would be able to go anywhere to get their second dose of Covid vaccine. There would be an easily accessible record of when they got the first dose and which vaccine they received. Currently, people have to return to the location where they got their first shot, or carry a vaccination card showing when they received the first dose and which brand of vaccine it was. Although I am not sure whether this makes any difference to people who believe in this theory, in reality Bill Gates and Microsoft do not have anything to do with developing or manufacturing vaccines.
Bill Gates and George Soros, two of the richest and most famous men in the world, are named in many conspiracy theories. Each one of these theories has been investigated and none of them have turned out to be true. Think twice before believing any theory that centers around these two men, since so far all these theories have turned out to be false.
Consider this: if the government wanted to keep closer track of us, almost all of us already carry a tracking device – our cell phones. The police already use cell phones to track criminals.
Concerns about fertility, pregnancy, and birth defects
Many people, especially young women, have concerns that Covid vaccine might interfere with a woman’s ability to get pregnant or could damage the health of the fetus before birth. This rumor started when one physician in Germany raised concerns. This story is a little difficult to follow because it doesn’t make much sense. His idea was that, because a small segment of the genes for the Covid spike protein (the part of Covid virus that triggers immune response to the vaccine) is similar to the genes of a protein in human placenta (afterbirth), immunity to Covid might cause miscarriage. If this were true, it would mean that any woman with Covid antibodies, whether she got them from being vaccinated or from having Covid disease, would have a higher risk of miscarriage. This is not true. The vaccine is new, but Covid infection has been with us for over a year now. If Covid infection or Covid antibodies caused miscarriages, we would have observed this by now. There is no increased rate of miscarriage in pregnant women infected with Covid. The similarity of the genes for coronavirus spike protein and the genes for placenta protein is minimal. It is not enough to cause a reaction between Covid antibodies and the placenta. Nonetheless, once the report of this one doctor’s concern hit the Internet, it quickly spread through websites and YouTube to the point where the idea that there is a problem with Covid vaccine and fertility became “common knowledge’, or rather, common misinformation.
More evidence on this issue: in the Pfizer vaccine trial, participants were asked to use contraception and avoid becoming pregnant. Twenty-three women in the study did become pregnant. Of those 23, only one had a miscarriage. She was in the control group, which means she never received the vaccine.
A study published last month looked at cases of pregnant women who became ill with Covid after becoming pregnant. This study, which was based on the actual experiences of real people, not on theoretical concerns, showed that Covid is extremely dangerous for women who are pregnant. Women who have Covid infection during pregnancy are more than three times as likely to be hospitalized as women the same age who are not pregnant. This might be because pregnancy causes a mildly immunosuppressed state. And, most startling, pregnant women are 13 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than non-pregnant women of the same age. This means that, for women who are pregnant or are considering getting pregnant, Covid vaccine can be life-saving. In the current pandemic, if vaccine is available, women should be vaccinated before becoming pregnant or as soon as they are aware they are pregnant.
There are no risks to unborn infants from Covid vaccine, and there’s no basis to think there could be risks. No vaccine has ever caused miscarriage, birth defects, or autism.
There are several viral infections that cause birth defects. Some of these are Zika virus, rubella (German measles), varicella (chicken pox), and cytomegalovirus (CMV.) Rubella virus can cause miscarriage. When women are infected in early pregnancy, rubella also can cause babies to be born deaf, autistic, or with other physical and mental abnormalities. The 1964 birth of over 12,000 deaf babies in the US after a rubella outbreak led to the development of rubella vaccine.
Besides keeping children and adults from getting sick, some vaccines prevent miscarriage and birth defects. These include MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) and varicella (chicken pox) vaccines.
Some final facts:
- It is not possible to put microchips into a vaccine.
- There has never been a vaccine that caused sterility.
- There has never been a vaccine that caused pregnancy loss, birth defects, or autism.
- There has never been a vaccine that caused side effects anywhere near as serious as the infection the vaccine prevents.
- With the rare exception of mild cases of polio from live polio vaccine, there has never been a vaccine that caused long term
- Covid vaccine (of all types) contains no virus. That is why the vaccine can never give a person Covid infection.
- Eva Hersh is a family physician. Send your comments and questions to her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org