University Hospitals Chief Operating Officer debunks COVID-19 vaccine myths

Pfizer Vaccine
Posted at 12:14 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 18:33:10-05

CLEVELAND — In the era of social media and online sharing, it seems vaccine misinformation is everywhere and sometimes it can be hard to tell fact from fiction. With the COVID-19 vaccine now available to some members of the general public, health care experts want to make sure everyone has their facts straight.

News 5 Cleveland spoke to Dr. Robyn Strosaker, the Chief Operating Officer of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, about the most common myths being shared online.

MYTH: The vaccine will impact a woman's fertility.

"In the vaccine studies, there were over 25 women who became pregnant after they got the vaccine. There was one miscarriage and that was somebody who had gotten the placebo, not the vaccine. So we have no data that suggests the vaccine causes infertility," said Strosaker.

She said while there hasn't been a study specifically looking at pregnant women and the COVID-19 vaccine, there is one thing we know for sure: "The risk of contracting COVID while you're pregnant is not insignificant, you know you're in a state of relative immune compromise when you're pregnant and we know pregnant women can get more ill with COVID." She said the best thing women can do is talk with their doctor to figure out what works best for them.

MYTH: The vaccine will enter your cells and impact your DNA.

"The vaccine does not change your DNA," Strosaker said. "It's what's called a mRNA vaccine, so it does go into cells, it does not go into the nucleus of cells, the center part of cells that have the DNA in it. All it does is go into cells enough to produce this protein that will allow you to become immune."

MYTH: The vaccine was rushed and may not be safe.

"This is technology that has been in development for literally decades. As soon as we knew this virus was going to be a pandemic, there were research labs who had this technology that they were working on anyway, and they just started using their technology with this specific virus." she said. "This wasn't something that was - there would have been no way we would have vaccine so quickly is folks had started from scratch. This is something that's been in the works for a long time."

MYTH: Once you're vaccinated, you can lose the mask.

"What we don't know yet is whether the COVID vaccine prevents you from spreading COVID," Strosaker said. "Even after the vaccine you could be exposed to COVID, be completely asymptomatic, and if you don't have your mask on you could continue to spread that virus to somebody who may not yet be immune or maybe high risk."

Strosaker said the best thing we can do is allow the healthcare professionals to vaccinate as fast as possible while practicing the safety guidelines: mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing.

"Let's just all keep on wearing our masks, get our vaccines and we can all be done with this crazy pandemic," she said.

RELATED: County by county: How to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination in Northeast Ohio