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Correcting this week’s misinformation: October 20, 2022

Did they test the COVID vaccine effectiveness against transmission?

The Claim:

A new claim on social media alleges that pharmaceutical companies never tested if vaccines prevented transmission, which proves that vaccines do not prevent transmission, of course.

The Facts:

That the covid vaccines were not tested for transmission is not news, nor is it something that was kept under wraps. The FDA authorization for the EUA back in Dec 2020 spelled out that “At this time, data are not available to make a determination about how long the vaccine will provide protection, nor is there evidence that the vaccine prevents transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from person to person.”

Vaccines were tested and approved based on data for safety and efficacy: did they prevent disease and are they safe. Preventing transmission, while a benefit, is an indirect benefit, and is often estimated after the vaccine is licensed and not something that approvals depend on.

We also note this study, which shows that even when infected with COVID, those who are fully vaccinated were contagious for about half as long and infected far fewer people (almost a quarter fewer) than those who were partially vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Every single heart attack

The Claim:

One cardiologist who should demand a refund on his med school education is alleging that every single unexplained heart attack, stroke, etc. was caused by the COVID vaccine.

The Facts:

The above proposition flies in the face of the scientific method. The cardiologist is incorrect to fill in the gap of unexplained causes (in this case of cardiac events) with the vaccine. His is an argument from ignorance. If he believes that the vaccine is causing all these cardiac events, he needs to prove that they are instead of pointing to events with no known cause.

What do we know about the COVID vaccine and cardiac events?

  • Surviving COVID puts one at increased risk of cardiac events and dramatically decreased chances of surviving the events for 12 months
  • COVID infection puts people at higher risk for myocarditis than vaccination does
  • Vaccines are not associated with a heightened risk for non-myocarditis or pericarditis cardiac events

False miscarriage claims

The Claim:

Once again, COVID vaccine miscarriage and fertility claims are making the rounds.

The Facts:

While COVID itself has been shown to increase the risks of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes, studies do not show that same association with the COVID vaccine. Data collected from the United States through v-safe and from Norway both show that there is no increased risk of miscarriage after the COVID vaccine.

One hypothesis has its roots in the genetic similarities between SARS-CoV-2 and syncytin-1, a protein that plays an important role in placenta development. The mRNA COVID vaccine instructs a person’s cells to create spike proteins to teach the immune system how to spot and destroy a real COVID virus. However, the spike protein is not similar enough to syncytin-1 to make a body attack it.

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