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    Correcting this week’s misinformation: week of June 13, 2024

    Are vaccines made to cause lifelong health ailments?

    The Claim:

    An old claim–that childhood immunizations cause autism, ADHD, eczema, diabetes, etc.–has a new twist in this Tweet that claims these vaccines are manufactured to harm children.

    The Facts:

    First, many, many studies exist showing vaccines are safe.

    Vaccines do confer immunity. We see varying levels of immunity depending on the type of vaccine, but all vaccines confer some amount of immunity. Immunity, at its base, is protection from disease. Vaccines stimulate the immune system in a way that its primed and ready to protect you when you encounter actual pathogens. Not all vaccines prevent 100% of diseases 100% of the time, but that doesn’t at all mean that they aren’t effective in protecting the people who receive them and their communities. Even if you are vaccinated and come down with a case of disease, your illness is most likely to be less severe than if you hadn’t been vaccinated in the first place.

    Take the MMR vaccine; it is about 97% effective against measles after 2 doses, meaning 97% of the vaccinated people who are exposed to measles will not develop measles, and that protection is thought to protect for life. DTaP is about 90% effective, and the chickenpox vaccine will protect against disease about 90% of the time, yet almost 100% of the time against severe disease.

    Some vaccines, such as those against influenza and COVID are more limited in their efficacy, and that protection does tend to wane over time, necessitating additional vaccines and boosters, but again, those who have been vaccinated usually have much more mild disease.

    We know that the real purpose of the vaccine is to protect a person and the community around them. They were not made to give anyone lifelong ailments. Multiple studies have looked at vaccines and SIDS, and there is no evidence to show that vaccines cause SIDS. And when childhood vaccination uptake decreased during the early years of the pandemic, there was no subsequent decrease in SIDS rates.

    We also have plenty of evidence that vaccines do not cause autismADHDeczema, or diabetes. We can conclude that since they don’t cause these lifelong ailments, they were never intended to.

    Did the CDC hide harms about mRNA vaccines?

    The Claim:

    new clip of Chris Cuomo’s interview with former CDC director Dr. Redfield makes a lot of stunning new claims that the CDC purportedly hid. Included among those claims is that once mRNA instructs your body to start making spike proteins, it is impossible to tell how many and for how long they will make them. Furthermore, he claims that the spike protein is immunotoxic and that vaccines cause long COVID.

    The Facts:

    Claim 1: The CDC stopped tracking vaccinated people. Redfield was CDC director from 2018-2021. And here in 2021, the CDC was tracking breakthrough infections – by definition, vaccinated people who got COVID.

    Claim 2: That when he was the chief public health advisor in Maryland, that two thirds of the people that Ihe was seeing infected with COVID had been vaccinated. Sure, but given that 92% of people in Maryland has received at least one vaccine, and 80% of Maryland has been fully vaccinated, those are pretty good statistics for getting vaccinated.

    Claim 3: He says that there is no way to know how long you make spike protein, but you can only make spike protein so long as you have the instructions for making spike protein in your body, and that comes from mRNA. One great thing about using mRNA in these vaccines is that mRNA degrades very quickly, generally within days. The spike protein stimulates immunity and will be neutralized by the immune system. But it will generally be produced for only a few days.

    According to a study looking at the benefits of the vaccination campaigns, in the time between April 2021 and March 2022, COVID the vaccination campaign resulted in 2,576,133 fewer mild COVID-19 cases, 243,979 fewer nonfatal COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 51,675 lives saved from COVID-19 with net benefits of approximately $732 billion.

    While side effects do happen, the risks of COVID vaccines are far fewer than the risks of COVID infection, with severe side effects from the COVID vaccines being extremely rare.

    Do COVID boosters make you more likely to get the COVID virus?

    The Claim:

    new video shows a doctor describing how our immune systems switch from recognizing spike proteins as dangerous to seeing them as benign when we receive repeated COVID boosters.

    The Facts:

    The doctor in the video isn’t a medical doctor and is instead an unemployed consultant pathologist with an FRCPath degree. She is making reference to studies she thinks show that the more doses of COVID vaccine you have, the more likely you are to have COVID, which is a fundamental misunderstanding of the data. She is likely referencing this study, which looked at whether people who are up-to-date on their COVID vaccines (meaning they got at least one dose of the new COVID bivalent vaccine) are less likely to get COVID compared to those who are not up-to-date.

    The misunderstanding comes from misreading the figures contained in the study. This is called a Table 2 fallacy. Often, epidemiologists need to pool together data to come up with an estimate of risk, known as an adjusted effect estimate. A Table 2 fallacy results from multiple adjusted effect estimates from a single model presented in a single table. Problems arise when different types of estimates are presented on the same table. This fallacy is like saying that carrying a lighter makes you more likely to get lung cancer without considering whether the person smokes. In studies, it’s important to adjust for the right things.

    She offers a hypothesis about the virus “switching” the immune system into one that recognizes the virus as benign but offers no evidence. If that were the case, however, we’d see vaccinated people with more severe disease, and that’s simply the opposite of what’s found.

    Disclaimer: Science is always evolving and our understanding of these topics may have evolved since it was originally posted. Browse the latest information posted in Just the Facts Topics.

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