COVID vaccination in Ukraine: fakes and misinformation about coronavirus vaccination. Photo: Pixabay
Vaccination against COVID-19 continues in Ukraine. And along with it, fakes about medications and the consequences of the vaccination course are spread. The infection with coronavirus of the Chief Sanitary Doctor Viktor Lyashko and the news about the AstraZeneca vaccine have only added fuel to the fire.
Myth #1: after being vaccinated a person can be infected with the coronavirus
Some vaccines, such as Novavax, Covaxin, or Sinovac, use parts of cells from a non-living virus. For example, the Novavax vaccine uses a specially designed spike protein that mimics the natural spike protein of the coronavirus. But none of the listed and other vaccines contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself and cannot cause COVID-19 disease. With the help of inactivated vaccines, the human body recognizes and remembers the antigenic composition of the virus and, in direct contact with the coronavirus, will be ready for all possible manifestations. Since the cell particles are "killed", they cannot fully ensure the development of immunity, therefore, it is necessary to re-vaccinate with such medications.
As for Lyashko's infection, he contracted coronavirus on the 13th day after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, when, according to him, immunity had not yet fully formed.
"As shown by the analysis of data from clinical studies, the effectiveness of the vaccine after a single standard dose is 76% from 22 to 90 days. The antibody levels are maintained during this period with minimal reduction. I was only on the 13th day after vaccination when symptoms appeared," he wrote on Facebook.
Probably, Lyashko's illness will pass easily, since vaccines have been developed, among other things, to ease the course of the disease.
Myth #2: The CoviShield vaccine has nothing to do with AstraZeneca
No, it is not. CoviShield is manufactured by the Indian Blood Serum Institute under license from AstraZeneca. That is, this is still the same AstraZeneca vaccine that is just produced in India. In other words, the "recipe" is the same, but the "kitchens" are located in different parts of the world.
AstraZeneca vaccines are manufactured in India and South Korea. All this was approved by the WHO. In Ukraine, a vaccine for emergency use was registered on February 22, 2021, and vaccination against coronavirus began on February 24.
In a comment to the channel Koronavirus_info, Lyashko said that the international certificate of vaccination was valid if the vaccine used for inoculation against coronavirus had been approved by the WHO. This norm is spelled out in the international health regulations.
"Now WHO has approved vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech (BNT162b2), Moderna (mRNA-1273), and AstraZeneca/Oxford University with sites in India and Korea (AZD1222). Therefore, when vaccinating with immunobiological preparations CoviShield from AstraZeneca/Oxford University, there will be no problems with the issuance of an international vaccination certificate and its further use," he stressed.
Myth #3: Coronavirus vaccines change human genes
You can't just take and change genes, especially with the coronavirus vaccine. mRNA vaccines "teach" the human body to produce part of the protein that gives the body's immune response. It also triggers the body's immune response and the production of antibodies.
mRNA vaccines cannot penetrate into the cell nucleus, where human DNA is located, therefore, mRNA cannot interact with DNA. However, they can interact with the body's defenses to safely develop immunity to coronavirus, the Ministry of Health emphasizes.
Myth #4: people die from vaccines
According to the WHO, not a single death has been recorded in the world as a result of vaccination against COVID-19.
In mid-January 2021, it was reported that 33 people aged 75 and older had died in Norway after being vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNTech. However, according to the WHO analysis, the number of deaths corresponds to the expected mortality rate, and that is typical for people of this age. There is no reason to believe that these deaths are related to the coronavirus vaccine.
Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Indonesia have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to reports of blood clots in some people following vaccination. Later, the European Medicines Agency did not confirm the connection of these cases with medications against COVID-19.
"At the moment there is no evidence that these incidents are caused by a vaccine, so it is important that vaccination campaigns continue—this is how we can save lives," said WHO Spokesman Christian Lindmeier.
Myth #5: information is hidden from us
In the world of information technology, it is really difficult to distinguish truth from fake, and "treason" spreads with cosmic speed. As for information about vaccinations, one should always use trusted sources, for example, the websites of the WHO, FDA, regulators of countries that have approved a particular vaccine, information from manufacturers. The latter do not hide the composition of their medication, the status of efficacy studies and possible side effects.
The world is actively fighting the spread of misinformation. For example, Twitter will now fight not only disinformation about COVID-19, but also about coronavirus vaccines. As early as March 1, 2021, social networks began to mark messages with false information about the vaccine, and for spreading 5 or more fake messages about vaccines, the account can be blocked forever.
Ukraine is also monitoring the dissemination of information—on March 11, the Center for Countering Disinformation was presented. It will track fakes and distorted information. In addition, it will work to increase the media literacy of Ukrainians: teach how to filter information and distinguish fakes from the truth.