There was great concern during the pandemic of Covid 19 about misinformation spread through social media.
Health Minister Jeane Freeman advised Scots to avoid frightening reports about the coronavirus earlier this month, as new research reveals that anti-vaccine posts are common on social media.
The results also revealed that anti-covid vaccine tweets have been seen by a third of people, it has emerged, with the key source being Facebook.
As work continues to roll out the vaccine to the most vulnerable groups, the Scottish health minister has now called on the public to ignore the misinformation.
We talked to Dr. Georgia Perona-Wright, a lecturer at the University of Glasgow in immunology, to dispel the theories and conspiracies surrounding the vaccine Covid 19.
This is what he had to say to Dr. Perona-Wright:
P1. Q1. The vaccine is not safe because it was hastily made.
This year, the success in the production of the vaccine was truly remarkable, but it was rapid but not hurried. For the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, all the safety testing and regulatory measures that are needed for any other new drug or vaccine were conducted and these tests were passed.
There are a number of reasons why this year’s production of vaccines is going so soon. The Covid-19 vaccines are variants of vaccine programs designed for previous infections such as Ebola, malaria and MERS, but before Covid-19 started to spread, the foundations for these vaccines were in place.
When we were aware of its particular features, we just needed to adapt the systems to the coronavirus. Moreover, the worldwide pandemic meant that all countries desperately needed a vaccine, so the incentives for growth and production were exceptionally high.
A significant number of scientists around the world stopped their previous work and concentrated solely on the coronavirus. Normally, before researchers begin their work, we have to apply for grants for each project, a process that typically takes several months.
The financial expenditure by governments removed this need with Covid-19, giving us a years-long head start. Furthermore, knowledge was widely exchanged and large collaborative research teams were created. Clinical trials for other experimental drugs were suspended and the coronavirus vaccine effort was left with the infrastructure to sustain the trials.
As a result, significant numbers of volunteers came forward. The continuing pandemic also indicated that the virus was still present in the population, so the virus was rapidly exposed to vaccinated volunteers and vaccine efficacy data could be obtained within a few weeks.
The Phase III safety research for the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine enrolled 43,000 individuals. This number is usually only around 3,000 because volunteers are difficult to find and outbreaks are rare, so it is always hard to tell whether a vaccine is going to work.
Unfortunately, the pandemic helped us here: all the safety testing and regulatory measures were in place and were conducted as before, so there was less waiting for adequate knowledge to be available so that such tests could be performed.
P2. Q2. The long-term side effects of the vaccine are not known.
This is partly, but only partly, real. As they are implemented, we will begin to obtain knowledge about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, so we will know more over time.
Both forms of Covid 19 vaccine, however, were produced using previously used vaccine systems and we have long-term safety evidence from those earlier studies.
For example, in a clinical trial for a new rabies vaccine, the mRNA vaccine technology used in the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine has been administered to humans since 2013. Protection data indicate that certain short-term effects of these vaccines, such as a sore arm at the injection site, weakness, or fever, are very normal. These are signs of the immune system functioning and triggering a reaction, and we’re trying to do it with the vaccine.
Another aspect of this risk assessment is that we do not completely understand what the long-term risks of having Covid-19 are. We know that for several months after infection, certain individuals (not all) have crippling symptoms.
We know, we know,