Dr. Kanter clears up myths surrounding COVID-19 vaccines

LDH discusses coronavirus vaccine myths

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor Edward’s Chief Public Health Adviser, Dr. Joe Kanter, is trying to clear up some of the biggest myths around the vaccine to try and put your mind at ease when you’re eligible to get a shot, and if you choose to do.

The race to vaccine for a lot of your loved ones who live at nursing homes and assisted living facilities at times seems more like a stroll.

“We are on track to complete the first round of vaccine administrations in nursing homes by February 8,” said Dr. Joe Kanter with the Louisiana Department of Health.

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With only around 28,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine given out so far to the people inside nursing homes, including staff. That’s a lot less than the more than 93,000 available through a federal partnership with Walgreens and CVS.

“I think all of us would prefer if the programs were going faster. I’m encouraged that the uptake rate amongst nursing home residents is about 69%, which is fairly encouraging. The uptake with staff has been a little lower, it’s been 26%,” said Kanter.

Dr. Kanter with the State Health Department believes those numbers will go up. But says what needs to go down, is false information about the COVID-19 vaccines.

“I’ve heard a couple of examples brought to me the past week, of individuals who had the opportunity to get the vaccine and did not. Because they bought in to one of these myths and that just breaks my heart,” said Dr. Kanter.

Kanter says the first myth is that the mRNA technology is new.

The messenger RNA technology has been around for years. And in fact, we have used it in cancer therapeutics for years. One of the differences is, we’ve never produced these cancer therapeutics at the volume, we’re going to have to produce these vaccines,” said Dr. Kanter.

The second myth is that the vaccine can make you sick.

“It is not possible for these Pfizer of Moderna vaccines to get someone COVID. There is no live virus involved in it at all,” said Kanter.

The next myth he’s hearing, is that mRNA vaccines can alter your DNA.

“All this mRNA material does, is it basically is enough to show your body that mug shot, that picture of the person, so this is what the virus looks like. And then your body degrades it, and then it’s gone. But your body already has seen it, so they’re starting to make antibodies against it,” said Dr. Kanter.

And lastly, there are rumors the vaccine could impact fertility.

“There is absolutely no evidence, nor is there a plausible mechanism, by which these vaccines would impair someone’s fertility,” said Kanter.

The Department of Health says if you are already pregnant and are considering a COVID-19 vaccine, be sure to consult with your doctor.

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