I’d like to introduce you to our video series COVID-19 Vaccine: Myths vs. Facts. In this series, your Florida Medical Clinic doctors address some of the biggest concerns that you and other patients may have about getting vaccinated, as well as debunk several myths regarding the safety and effectiveness of the available vaccines.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the COVID vaccines. That’s the reason we’ve asked our board-certified physicians to provide sound medical information that you can trust.
Below, you can watch each video and read transcripts of our physicians discussing vaccine myths and facts.
Quick Vaccine Resources
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can dramatically reduce your chance of getting sick from the coronavirus—and protect you, your family, friends, co-workers, and community. If you have more questions about the vaccines and their safety, talk to a trusted health care provider or schedule an appointment to talk to a doctor at Florida Medical Clinic.
If you’re ready to get a vaccine, you can book an appointment at:
- Walgreens (walk-ins available)
- CVS (walk-ins available)
- Publix (walk-ins available)
- Winn-Dixie (walk-ins available)
- Independent pharmacies near you
Myth #1 – The COVID-19 vaccine was developed to control the general population through microchip tracking.
This video features Dr. Michael Branch (Ear, Nose & Throat) and Dr. Mayra Rivera (Internal Medicine).
Dr. Michael Branch: It seems like this all came up around the time that the Gates Foundation was supporting the COVID vaccine and they did a large donation for national and international vaccinations. In the process of that interviewing with Bill Gates, there was discussion about having an e-vaccine card.
This sort of morphed into a belief that they were actually going to implant vaccination microchips and then track people. What he [Bill Gates] was actually talking about was using e-vaccination cards that would ultimately track people’s shot records. It’s sort of a shot record approach, not that there were going to be microchips.
Dr. Mayra Rivera: The other thing you have to realize is, what would be the purpose of putting a microchip in a vaccine. Is it to track our behavior? Is it to track our location? The reality is that we already do all that with our smartphones. Anybody can track us, anybody can know what we do and what we prefer without actually having to inject anything on us.
When you look at the vaccines, the amounts of fluids are very small, the needles are very small – nothing that would suggest that you could fit something like that in our current technology.
Myth #2 – Researchers rushed the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, so its effectiveness and safety cannot be trusted.
This video features Dr. Sami Nallamshetty (Allergy, Asthma & Immunology), Dr. Mayra Rivera (Internal Medicine), and Dr. Seth Cooper (Orthopedics).
Dr. Sami Nallamshetty: I can understand where this concern is coming from. To be honest, before the vaccines were authorized, I had some concerns myself about getting the vaccine. So I did some research, I listened to some experts in the field. I actually found out that a colleague had allowed her parents to be involved in one of the trials for the vaccine. And once she explained the risks, and how everything went with her parents – that made me feel much more comfortable to get it.
Dr. Mayra Rivera: The reality is that the technology, the mRNA, was discovered in the late 1960s – the molecule itself. The technology has been in research since then for different types of purposes. All they had to do was, they already had this technology, it’s a matter of shifting and using a different mRNA molecule. And the time that it took was really for testing – because no vaccine can be approved even for emergency use without having testing.
Dr. Seth Cooper: Studies have shown that these vaccines are 95% effective. The vaccine that is being used against COVID – that style vaccine – has been developed for years. Therefore, when the COVID virus came about, they were able to plugin let’s say the ‘genetic information’ to fight this virus. Also, other countries have worked together and shared knowledge of the virus to develop this vaccine. With social media, volunteers were able to be recruited. In addition, due to the widespread nature of this disease, there were a large number of study subjects available to study the effectiveness and the safety of this vaccine.
Myth #3 – The COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility or miscarriage.
This video features Dr. Niraj Patel (Obstetrics & Gynecology).
Dr. Niraj Patel: This is simply a myth that’s out there that has no scientific basis or proof. In fact, couples and patients considering fertility should in fact get COVID vaccination because it provides immunity to them throughout pregnancy, which would decrease their risk of cardiopulmonary pathology during pregnancy.
It also provides immunity through the umbilical cord for the newborn, because there is clear clinical data that shows there is a COVID antibody which is protected through the newborn as well. I would recommend every couple and woman out there considering fertility or starting a family plan ahead and get a COVID-19 vaccination prior to conception in order to protect themselves, as well as their newborn.
Myth #4 – I’ve already had COVID-19, so I don’t need to get the vaccine.
This video features Florida Medical Clinic Chief Medical Officer Dr. Emilio Dominguez and Dr. Phuong Nguyen (Infectious Disease & Wound Care).
Dr. Emilio Dominguez: So, there’s no doubt that after getting natural COVID infection that most people do develop antibodies. The big question that remains though is whether or not those antibodies last for a long period of time, and often that is really due to how severe the infection was that you got. So if you were one of these people that got mild or asymptomatic COVID infection, the thought is that your antibody response to that infection may not be very brisk and in fact, may not last very long at all.
There is certainly a recommendation even after having what we term ‘natural COVID infection’ to also get the vaccine. The vaccine provides a booster response to your immune system, and we do know that the vaccines work very well and produce antibodies that are around for many months, so much more protective than just having natural infection itself.
Dr. Phuong Nguyen: When you are infected with COVID, the exposure is mainly to your respiratory system. That immune system is allocated in that area. However, when you get vaccinations and it gets inoculated into the muscle, that introduces another set of immune system processes that makes it a little bit more broad effects in general. After natural immunity, they find that our antibodies fall significantly pretty shortly after infection. The idea is to kind of keep that immune process ongoing, so that we can have a longer protection timeline.
Myth #5 – COVID-19 vaccine enters your cells and changes your DNA.
This video features Dr. Mayra Rivera (Internal Medicine) and Florida Medical Clinic Chief Medical Officer Dr. Emilio Dominguez.
Dr. Mayra Rivera: [see diagram in video] It’s not designed to do that, it’s designed as a little recipe, the mRNA coming in here. Your DNA or human DNA is inside the nucleus, kind of tucked together in here, so it actually just goes straight into what we call the endoplasmic reticulum, which is sort of like the kitchen where you take the recipe, bring it here, and make the spike protein. So it doesn’t really interact with the nucleus at all, it doesn’t interact with the DNA, it was designed in that fashion. And when it’s done here, it gets what we call ‘denatured’ or destroyed right here, on this part of the cell – the cytoplasm of the cell. So it never comes in and affects your own DNA.
Dr. Emilio Dominguez: In summary, the current COVID-19 vaccines, they don’t affect the DNA because they don’t go into the nucleus of the cell where the DNA lives. It stays outside of the cell in the cell cytoplasm, and is easily able to produce particles that induce our immune system to produce antibodies, to protect us moving forward in the future.
Myth #6 – I have allergies so I shouldn’t get the COVID vaccine.
This video features Dr. Daniel A. Reichmuth (Asthma, Allergy & Immunology) and Dr. Sami Nallamshetty (Allergy, Asthma & Immunology).
Dr. Daniel Reichmuth: The CDC actually has 3 categories – people who have no contraindications, which means there’s no reasons they shouldn’t get it and there’s no precautions. So that’s people with airborne allergies, pet allergies, food allergies, and even if they’re allergic to an oral medication like penicillin.
Then there are people who have precautions – and those are people who have a history of severe allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis, or if they’ve had a history of allergy to vaccines or other injectable medications. Those are people who should stay 30 minutes after their COVID vaccine.
Then there’s a very, very tiny amount of people who have what they call contraindications, who should not get the vaccine. And that’s anyone who’s had a history of anaphylaxis to a specific COVID vaccine, or who has an allergy to a component in the COVID vaccine.
There are two MRNA vaccines, one is made by Pfizer and another made by Moderna. If you’ve had a severe reaction to either one of those, you should wait at least 4 weeks and then receive what they call the Johnson & Johnson one, which is a different technology altogether.
Dr. Sami Nallamshetty: Now I know that some people are worried about ‘what happens to me if I have an allergic reaction after the COVID-19 vaccine’. Well, there are safeguards in place. These centers do have the materials and people who are prepared to treat those allergic reactions. The CDC has said that they should be able to handle these reactions. Furthermore, the chance of you actually having an anaphylactic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccination is very, very low. You are more likely to be struck down by lightning than have an anaphylactic reaction to any vaccine.
Myth #7 – I’m pregnant and/or breastfeeding, so I shouldn’t get the COVID vaccine.
This video features Dr. Niraj Patel (Obstetrics & Gynecology) and Dr. Mayra Rivera (Internal Medicine).
Dr. Niraj Patel: There’s data that has shown that the COVID-19 vaccine is protective and provides immunity in the pregnancy. It also provides immunity to the newborn. When they tested the umbilical cord blood, there was antibodies to COVID-19 in almost 100% of the umbilical cord samples that were collected. Also tests are being done on the breast milk as well, for moms who have gotten the COVID-19 vaccination and completed the series. Tests showed there was antibodies in the breast milk as well, which would indirectly would provide immunity to their newborn.
Dr. Mayra Rivera: We have not seen any issues with preterm labor, or any issues with the infants that have been exposed to vaccinations during that time. Women who do get COVID during pregnancy have an increased risk of preterm labor, have an increased risk of blood clots and respiratory complications. So it is better to immunize yourself if you are pregnant or considering pregnancy to decrease the risk of having series illness.
Myth #8 – The COVID-19 vaccine will make me “magnetic.”
This video features Dr. Seth Cooper (Orthopedics) and Dr. Mayra Rivera (Internal Medicine).
Dr. Seth Cooper: This vaccine will not make you magnetic. There are no metal subsidies in the vaccine to develop an electromagnetic field around you, either within your body or around the vaccination site.
Dr. Mayra Rivera: This has been an interesting myth that came recently. If you look at the ingredients, none of the ingredients have any metals of any type. Therefore, it cannot make you magnetic. A lot of the things we are seeing in the social media videos are explained by the same thing that would explain you putting a spoon on your nose like as a kid and having it stick there for a little while.
Myth #9 – Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will cause me to test positive for COVID.
This video features Dr. Mayra Rivera (Internal Medicine) and Dr. Phuong Nguyen (Infectious Disease & Wound Care).
Dr. Mayra Rivera: Looking at the ingredients, there is no actual COVID-19 virus in the vaccine. The spike protein that is made is made by your own body, which means that if you get a nasal swab to test you for COVID sometime after receiving the vaccine, it will not be positive.
Dr. Phuong Nguyen: Number one, it is not a live vaccine or a piece of the virus that is integrated into a vaccine. It is just a little tiny genetic code mRNA that is not pathogenic – or cause any type of disease. As far as feeling sick after the COVID-19 vaccine, it is a common side effect to have flu-like symptoms afterwards. That is a sign that your immune system is working.
Myth #10 – Tons of people have already died from the COVID vaccine.
This video features Dr. Mayra Rivera (Internal Medicine) and Dr. Sami Nallamshetty (Allergy, Asthma & Immunology).
Dr. Mayra Rivera: Any vaccine, but very specifically the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC has been doing some very extensive data collection and they are screening every week for events. But it doesn’t show us any cause, it’s just accumulating data. And so some news medias have gone and said, okay from this date to this date, how many people have died that have received the vaccine. And they got a few thousand people. But this doesn’t create cause.
What the CDC and some other agencies like the World Health Organization do with this mortality data is they compare it. So how many 90 year olds died this year, this week, this month. And compare it to how many of those died after the vaccine. And then they do it for the previous year, and the previous year. And look at those numbers and say do we see a true increase in mortality in patients who had the vaccine versus patients in any other year, at the same time of the year.
Dr. Sami Nallamshetty: We know that this vaccination considerably reduces the chances of hospitalization, and severe illness and death due to COVID-19.
Get More Facts About the COVID-19 Vaccines
For additional information about the vaccines, their safety, and how they work, see these resources:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Vaccine Hesitancy: How to Respond to 5 Common Concerns (from the Florida Medical Clinic blog)