Conspiracy & Myth — 5 Covid Vaccine Theories Debunked

Photo by Braňo on Unsplash

Headline

Since the start of the pandemic, the whole world was working toward one goal, an effective vaccine to prevent the spread of this virus.

However, now that we have finally successfully developed various vaccines for the Covid-19, anti-vaccination rumors, conspiracies, and false news is spreading like wildfire.

Despite conscious efforts of social media platforms and health officials to combat disinformation,

a lot of misleading information about the potential Covid-19 vaccines is circulating both online and offline.

Here we will debunk some of the wildest and most popular claims made against the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Deception and debunking usually occur in different venues; those exposed to misconceptions rarely encounter fact-checks” — Henry Campbell, The Scientific American.

Theory #1: The Covid Vaccine Can Implant Microchips

Status: Debunked, Rendered False

This wild conspiracy theory stemmed from years of baseless misrepresentation of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates’ vaccine advocacy efforts.

The microchip conspiracy theory keeps popping up, and the Gates Foundation has called it ‘false.’ It is funding research into tech that could hold data and information about whether someone has had a particular vaccine or not. However, this would not involve implanting microchips or tracking people, according to scientists involved in the study.

Theory #2: The Vaccines Are Experimental & Unsafe

Status: Debunked, Rendered False

Understandably, many people had questions about how fast the Covid-19 vaccines were approved compared to the usual years and years of testing and trials.

However, those questions have been comprehensively answered by health professionals and scientists.

Contrary to false news spreading on social media, no covid vaccine has skipped any stage of trials, including animal trials.

The AstraZeneca vaccine uses viral vector technology — using weakened adenovirus cells to train the body’s immune system to attack covid-19 spikes.

Variations of this type of vaccine have been used to fight ebola, and studies attempting to develop vaccines for other diseases.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology, which takes a part of the Covid-19 DNA to equip the immune system to attack the actual coronavirus.

They are the first vaccines using this method to being administered to humans, but the technology has been studied and tested for years.

Theory #3: The Covid-19 Can Alter Human DNA

Status: Debunked, Rendered False

One of the videos with false claims was created by osteopath Carrie Madej and circulated online at the end of July 2020.

In it, she falsely suggests that the Covid vaccines are designed to modify people’s DNA “to make us into genetically modified organisms” and to “hook us all up to an artificial intelligence interface.”

It sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi Movie, a scary thought with no evidence to prove this claim.

None of the undergoing coronavirus vaccine trials are designed to alter human DNA, nor do they contain the technology that can be used to track us. We already have that in the form of smartphones and gadgets.

The video was initially posted to YouTube in June 2020 and had more than 300,000 views, and was also very popular on social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram.

Theory #4: The COVID-19 Vaccine Causes Infertility

Status: Debunked, Rendered False

According to epidemiologist and public health expert at Parenting Pod, Elizabeth Beatriz, Ph.D., this claim stemmed from a letter that shared incorrect information about what was in the Covid-19 vaccines to begin with.

“Even though the information is false, it spread like wildfire,” Elizabeth Beatriz said.

She explained that several women involved in the Covid-19 vaccine trials got pregnant shortly after the vaccination — meaning that they weren’t rendered infertile from the vaccine and conceived successfully.

“It is especially important for women who are pregnant or are thinking about getting pregnant to get the vaccine,” added Beatriz, “because if they were to get COVID, the risk of serious consequences are higher if you are pregnant.”

Theory #5: Vaccinated People ‘Shed’ the Vaccine

Status: Debunked, Rendered False

Among the more bizarre theories swirling around certain corners of social media is that vaccinated people can “shed” to non-vaccinated people.

This is entirely untrue.

As stated above, the vaccine trains the immune system to produce antibodies and cannot shed to other people.

The vaccine can be “shed” from one person to another, a theory that gained enough popularity through boosts from famous anti-vaccine activists. It prompted a Miami school to ask vaccinated teachers to keep their distance from students.

It also ended up causing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to announce that shedding phenomena can only occur when a vaccine contains a “live virus,” which the approved Covid-19 vaccines don’t.

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told fact-checking organization Full Fact: “I can’t think of any biologically plausible mechanism for shedding of components of any of the licensed Covid-19 vaccines after immunization.”

Theory #6: Vaccine is Causing Covid-19 Variants & Deaths

Status: Debunked, Rendered False

The vaccine is causing Covid-19 variants, a rumor that gained traction in May after Nobel-prize-winning French virologist Luc Montagnier insisted on an interview “vaccination is creating new Covid-19 variants”.

A claim other healthcare professionals and medical experts have deemed unscientific and “utterly bonkers” as variants occur randomly and independently of vaccinations.

And one of the most damaging rumors is that the vaccine has already led to many deaths.

A rumor spearheaded by prominent conservatives including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc). Their claim is based on the thousands of deaths listed on the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). However, the database does not display verified information, and the CDC has reported: “no causal link” between the listed deaths and the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The Drastic Spread of Misinformation

Over 16 million pieces of false information have been removed by social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. The content was violating Covid-19 and vaccine policies. Social media spreads rumors and conspiracy theories like wildfire, despite the best efforts of organizations and moderators. This is why it is essential to be careful when reading anything online and report false information as soon as possible to curb the spread.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky recently debunked a new and bizarre claim on CBS. The conspiracy originated from TikTok, a Chinese social media platform. The video claimed that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine makes recipients Bluetooth connectable.

“That’s ridiculous; we are not being injected with chips. What we’re being injected with is this incredible scientific breakthrough that keeps us safe.” — Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director.

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