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HomeCovid Myth BustersFrom Chips to Infertility, Myths about COVID-19 Vaccine Still Circulate in Redwood...

From Chips to Infertility, Myths about COVID-19 Vaccine Still Circulate in Redwood City’s Latino Community

By Pamela Cruz, Peninsula 360 Press, also available in Spanish

By Pamela Cruz, with the support of Hans Leguizamo, Constanza Mazzotti, Anna Lee Mraz, Manuel Ortiz and the members of the P360P community journalism workshop.

Despite the fact that 92.6 percent of San Mateo County’s eligible population has been vaccinated, misinformation and fears among the Latino community continue to surround the COVID-19 vaccine.

For Maria Segovia, a participant in the Peninsula 360 Press community journalism workshop and resident of Redwood City, COVID vaccine myths continue to circulate just as strongly on social networks, especially Facebook and Instagram.

“One of the most heard to this day is that vaccines have a chip to be able to locate us. The other is that they leave sterile and that is also still heard both in social networks and from people who continue to talk,” he said.

However, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips: they were created to fight diseases and are not administered to track their movements.

Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies, just as it would if you were exposed to the disease. After you are vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease without having to have had it.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has undoubtedly put human beings and their capacity to believe in science and its advances to the test. With the arrival of not one, but several vaccines to combat COVID-19, the beliefs, fears and doubts of all communities, including the Latino community, came to the surface.

Roberto Cruz, a volunteer at the non-profit organization, Casa Círculo Cultural, noted that he has also continued to hear COVID vaccine myths, in his case, those of infertility and DNA alteration that continue to be widely heard and branded, especially on Facebook.

The CDC has specified that COVID-19 vaccines do not modify DNA or interact with it in any way.

Both messenger RNA (mRNA) and viral vector vaccines against COVID-19 instruct our cells to start generating protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Once the body produces an immune response, it discards all vaccine ingredients.

The genetic material provided by mRNA vaccines never enters the cell nucleus, which is where our DNA is housed. 

Viral vector vaccines against COVID-19 deliver genetic material to the cell nucleus so that they can generate protection against the disease. However, the viral vector does not have the necessary machinery to integrate its genetic material into our DNA, so it cannot alter it.

Different types of vaccines act in different ways to provide protection. But, with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes, plus B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.

While it is true that social networks have been very useful for disseminating reliable and truthful information, they have also been very useful for misinforming people about the disease that has claimed the lives of almost 6 million people worldwide, and about the vaccines that fight it.

Regarding fertility, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC have stated that there is currently no evidence that any vaccine, including those against COVID-19, cause fertility problems in women or men.

In addition, the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people who are pregnant, trying or planning to become pregnant, as well as for their partners.

WHO has also pointed out that clinical trials of already licensed vaccines have confirmed that they do not cause infertility. 

Celene Gómez, a student of P360P’s community journalism workshop, agreed that myths and rumors about the COVID-19 vaccine continue. In light of this, and having lost loved ones to the disease, she called on people to avoid misinformation.

“I have had loved ones who have died ?because of COVID-19? and I think I would be much more afraid to die ?than to get the vaccine? There is a lot of false news, but it is better to find out on your own and get it,” she said.

The director and founder of the organization Casa Circulo Cultural, located in the heart of Redwood City, Veronica Escamez, knows firsthand that vaccine myths continue to be a barrier in the Latino community to getting children, in particular, immunized.

“The most important myth, or at least the one we hear the most in the organization is that they are going to put a chip? unfortunately that is what we hear the most here. I have heard it everywhere, from people who do not want to get vaccinated, because generally we ask all the children to get vaccinated and some parents say they do not want to vaccinate them because through the children they are going to put a chip and they are going to have them located, especially if they do not have documents to live in the United States and they are afraid of being detained,” he stressed in an interview.

He added that these types of ideas and beliefs have been spread through social networks, especially Facebook.

“We have seen it through social networks, because it is everywhere, and we have also heard it through some who were told, and others, that this is what can happen, even though they are already vaccinated, even so, they are afraid.”

According to a brief survey of Redwood City residents, other myths that still persist among the Latino community are that COVID-19 vaccines are made from dead human fetuses and/or include ingredients that are dangerous to humans.

The reality is that both WHO and CDC detail that virtually all of the ingredients included in COVID-19 vaccines are found in many foods, such as fats, sugars and salts.

The exact ingredients of each vaccine vary according to the manufacturer. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines also contain messenger RNA, while the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine contains a harmless version of a virus unrelated to the virus that causes COVID-19. 

All of them instruct the body’s cells to generate an immune response.

This response protects users from getting sick from COVID-19 in the future. Once the body produces an immune response, it discards all the ingredients in the vaccine, just as it would discard any information that the cells no longer need. This process is part of the body’s normal functioning.

Therefore, COVID-19 vaccines contain NO ingredients such as preservatives, tissues – such as fetal cells from abortions – antibiotics, food proteins, drugs, latex or metals.

These myths are compounded by the fact that COVID-19 vaccines contain magnetite and therefore magnetize people.

However, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 does not magnetize it, even in the area of vaccination, which is usually the arm, the CDC details.

COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the injection site or anywhere else in the body, as they do not contain metals.

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