COVID-19 vaccine facts and debunking myths — the semi-complete list

COVID-19 vaccine facts

There are so many myths about the COVID-19 vaccine, I wanted to post some facts about the new vaccines which we can use for debunking purposes. I used to think that the HPV vaccine brought the most hatred and misinformation from the anti-vaccine world, but it’s clear that the new COVID-19 vaccines are their new targets.

This article will only focus on the five vaccines that I believe will eventually receive FDA or European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ Janssen), and Novavax vaccines. I remain unconvinced that any vaccine made in China or the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will ever get approved by countries with robust drug regulatory agencies. However, if they are, I will certainly add them to a future iteration of this list.

I’m going to make this in a basic chart form for ease of use in finding COVID-19 vaccine facts and myths. I will link to supporting evidence wherever relevant.

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Robert Malone did not invent the mRNA vaccine — he now misinforms

Glass vial that held Margaret Keenan’s first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, 7th December 2020 (glass vial)

I have been ignoring Robert Malone and his claims that he “invented” the mRNA vaccines. I just thought he would disappear, but now he’s like the other quacks in the COVID-19 vaccine world, spreading misinformation and disinformation about mRNA vaccines.

He’s become the go-to talking head to discredit the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. And he uses his claim that he “invented” the vaccine to become the false authority on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. All over the internet, I’m reading COVID-19 vaccine deniers invoke his name as proof that no one should get that vaccine.

Well, I’ve reached my maximum level of annoyance at Robert Malone, so it’s time for the old feathered non-avian dinosaur to tell you what he did with the mRNA vaccines and why he should be ignored.

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RSV vaccine candidates are entering phase 3 trials — stopping a dangerous disease

rsv vaccine

A respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine has been a goal for researchers for a long time, given the serious outcomes of an RSV infection. According to the CDC, an RSV vaccine could dramatically reduce hospital and intensive-care admissions, especially for children and seniors.

A series of clinical trials tested a vaccine made from inactivated RSV in children in the 1960s. Unfortunately, the vaccine candidate worsened the disease in children when they were later naturally infected with RSV.

However, these new vaccines have shown good safety and effectiveness results in clinical trials. This article will review what RSV is and the list of vaccine candidates that are entering or are in phase 3 clinical trials.

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GMO and vaccine DNA – they’re not going to change your genes

vaccine GMO DNA

One of the more pernicious tropes in the world of pseudoscience is that the vaccine and GMO DNA are going to magically incorporate into your cells changing you from a human into a sasquatch with ears of corn growing out of your head. Now that would be fun to see, but unless there’s a mad scientist out there trying to grow ears of corn out of a hirsute humane that looks like Sasquatch, it will probably never happen.

And most certainly consuming DNA from GMO foods or injecting DNA in a vaccine is not going to cause anything changes in your genes. You are not going to suddenly turn into Sasquatch.

Now, this article will not discuss mRNA vaccines somehow changing your DNA, because that’s been thoroughly debunked.

As we all know, good science rarely gets in the way of good pseudoscience for anti-vaxxers and anti-GMO zealots. That’s why this old feathered skeptic in the dinosaur clade is here, to make sure the science is clear and to mock the pseudoscience.

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Epstein-Barr virus — why we need a vaccine for it

The Epstein-Barr virus is one of the most ubiquitous viruses that infect humans. Around 95% of humans are infected by the virus, so it is probably the most common virus, at least for humans. However, I bet most people haven’t heard of it and are unaware that they have the virus floating around in their bodies.

How did you catch it? It spreads through the saliva, so it could have been from your mother when she shared some of her food with you. Or it could have been from sharing a milkshake while on a date. Or maybe you got it when you kissed your date. In fact, if you caught the virus in this last scenario — as a teen or young adult — then the Epstein-Barr virus may have triggered mononucleosis, or the “kissing disease,” in which a massive immune response against the pathogen causes weeks of sore throat, fever, and debilitating fatigue.

The Epstein-Barr virus is so pervasive, and the outcomes are so minor, you might be wondering why we need a vaccine. The problem is that the outcomes aren’t all that minor — rare, but very serious, outcomes are frequently observed because so many individuals are infected by the disease.

This article will examine what the Epstein-Barr virus is, and why it is so dangerous. Hopefully, it will be obvious why we need a vaccine.

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Reverse transcription of COVID mRNA vaccine — anti-vaxxers go wild

reverse transcription

A new paper that was published in February 2022 seemed to indicate that human cells could use a reverse transcription of the COVID-19 mRNA in vaccines to create new DNA. Of course, anti-vaxxers jumped on the reverse transcription train because it confirmed their beliefs that the mRNA vaccine somehow messes with your DNA. It doesn’t.

I’ll be blunt — this is an awful paper that doesn’t say what the anti-vaxxers think it means. And more bluntly, it does not come close to showing that the mRNA vaccine can change your DNA. Let’s take a look at this article in detail.

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Novavax COVID vaccine — we should not ignore it, since it might be useful

novavax COVID-19 vaccine

For the past year, we have ignored the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine while focusing on the ones from AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, and JNJ. However, Novavax will soon be requesting an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the USA for its vaccine, known as Nuvaxovid or Covovax, bringing another weapon in the war against COVID-19. The vaccine received an emergency use authorization in the EU in December 2021.

The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is completely different than the mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer and the adenovirus vector vaccines from JNJ and AstraZeneca. It uses a technology that is similar to what is used with other common vaccines.

Unfortunately, Novavax ran into several manufacturing issues which delayed its availability across the world. But over the past few months, they fixed those issues with their contractors and now appear to be ready to launch the vaccine widely across the world.

I just wanted to make sure that we remain aware of it, and I wanted to toss out some ideas that I have about the vaccine. I think it might be much more important than the other vaccines in fighting against the variants that keep hitting us.

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COVID vaccine booster effectiveness may wane quickly against Omicron

This pandemic just doesn’t give us much good news — research from the UK indicates that COVID-19 vaccine booster effectiveness may wane significantly at the 10-week mark post-vaccination. This may allow the Omicron variant to spread much further than originally hoped.

Before I explain the research, I want to make a few things very clear. First, this doesn’t mean the vaccine is ineffective, it is just that the immunity appears to wane more quickly than other vaccines. Second, this doesn’t mean that the vaccines are worthless — hospitalization and, more importantly, death rates are much lower in the vaccinated group. And finally, this is how science works — we accumulate data and then, after reviewing the data, change recommendations.

Let’s take a look at this new research and determine what it may mean for future vaccination efforts.

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Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID vaccines are really vaccines – obviously

person aspirating the vaccine from the vial

Here we go again – I keep seeing the new anti-vaxxer claim that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are not, in fact, vaccines but are either “medical devices” or “gene therapy.” I keep trying to stay up with every single myth and trope pushed by the anti-vaxxers, but I swear that there’s a new one every day.

I would really love to write about something other than COVID-19 vaccines – I’ve got a ton of articles I want to write about GMOs, supplements, and cancer that are just sitting in a virtual pile on my desk. Unfortunately, I’m very worried that the anti-vax hatred of these new vaccines will allow this pandemic to keep going. That’s why many of us keep doing the best we can to stamp out the myths.

Just to be clear, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are actually vaccines – they are biological preparations that provide active acquired immunity to an infectious disease, in this case, COVID-19. But, I’m going to have to debunk these myths.

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