Health experts dispel vaccine conspiracies

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A Riverside City College nurse administers the Pfizer vaccine to a member of the community on April 22. (Daniel Hernandez | Viewpoints)
By Daniela Ramirez

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Data Tracker indicates the total percentage of the population who has received the first dose of the vaccine is 44.7% and the population that has received both doses is only 32.3% of the population. 

According to Tina Winston, a cardiovascular nurse with 11 years of experience, the goal is to reach herd immunity, which means an area, such as the city of Riverside, is 75-80% vaccinated. 

Winston has worked at Arrowhead Hospital, Corona Regional and St. Bernardine Hospital in San Bernardino, which she currently works at.

She treats patients who suffer from heart conditions, but at the peak of the pandemic, Winson treated dozens of COVID-19 patients. 

Conspiracies have created doubts in many, especially this last year with the rollout of the vaccine. 

One of the biggest conspiracies surrounding the shot is that it was developed too quickly for safe use. Many are worried about side effects, ingredients and the real purpose the government is pushing the vaccine. 

According to a Healthline article, there are many factors that played in the vaccine’s quick development. The money and resources for COVID-19 research and treatments pushed the development to having a shorter time frame to produce results, Lynlee Burton, head of the Center for Vaccines and Emerging Infectious Diseases at PRA Health Sciences.

Burton also discussed the research built from the Ebola outbreak in 2015 that formed the  Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation. The CEPI is a global partnership to advance the fight against infectious diseases. Burton went on to discuss strategies to respond to an epidemic.

The key piece that made the COVID-19 shot effective for safe use is the mRNA molecule. The mRNA, or messenger RNA, is the molecule that goes back into DNA to create the protein that triggers an immune response to a disease. 

The messenger does not add a weakened germ, which makes a person more susceptible to catching the disease, like many believe happens when receiving a flu shot. 

The flu shot many receive has to be redeveloped every year due to the mutations the virus has created.

Winston said that although there are some COVID-19 variants, mutations have not reached the point where the disease could not be completely wiped out.

“The vaccine is so effective,” she said. “Now we can completely fight against it.”

The mRNA technology helps prevent the virus from entering the body with a 30-40% accuracy to do so, according to Wintson. 

Research on mRNA is nothing new to science. The use of mRNA to help fight diseases has been developing for decades, according to the CDC.

Winston, along with her colleagues, have received both doses of the vaccine. Her symptoms consist of slight dizziness, pain in the arm and fatigue. 

“My symptoms were mild and only lasted 24 hours,” Winston said. 

The chances a person will endure severe symptoms are very low and depends on which vaccine provider a person chooses to receive the vaccine from. 

Johnson and Johson, Pfizer and Moderna are all made for the same purpose, but are composed differently. 

The conspiracy that is becoming more popular is the vaccine can possibly result in death. The Food and Drug Administration requires all vaccination providers to report any deaths after taking the vaccine, but that does not necessarily mean the vaccine is the cause of death. 

Winson stated the only deaths in connection to the vaccine have been a small percentage of women who developed a rare blood clot condition and died after being vaccinated. 

Since December, over 211 million vaccines have dispersed and 4,178 reports of death have been made, that is 0.0017% of people who got the vaccine. The CDC determined after reviewing autopsy and medical files that the vaccine was not the cause of any such deaths. 

Contrary to the belief that the vaccine is a way to get more money from the people, providing free vaccines for everyone ages 16 and older is actually costing the government more money. 

Winston encouraged more people to take the vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“It was heartbreaking, I’ve never seen so many deaths,” she said. “I’ve never encountered anything like this before.”

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