TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian government continues to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination. More than 70 million people in the country have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and around 40 million have been completely vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Myths about the vaccine, however, are still circulating in the community, causing people to be reluctant to get inoculated. The following are several debunked myths about vaccines as quoted from the government’s COVID-19 site, Covid19.go.id.
Vaccine Changes the DNA
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), a molecule that determines the traits and physical characteristics of each species, is rumored to be changed after the vaccination.
Cited from the World Health Organisation's video series Episode 24 titled "Vaccine Myths vs Science", a vaccines expert Dr. Katherine O'Brien says there is no way that current vaccine types, or mRNA vaccines, can change the DNA of human cells.
She explains mRNA is the instructions to the body to make a protein and then the natural immune system responds to it to protect against the infectious disease.
Vaccine Causes Infertility
The COVID-19 vaccine is said to pose a risk of infertility. O'Brien who is also a doctor of infectious diseases asserts that there is no truth to the rumor. “There's no vaccine that causes infertility.
Vaccine Contains Harmful Chemicals
Another rumor about the vaccine is it contains harmful chemicals as they cause certain effects on people. O'Brien underlines that the rumor is a myth. COVID-19 vaccine is confirmed safe for humans and all the components are heavily tested, including the doses.
“The vaccines contain a number of different elements and each of them is tested. Before they're ever given to a human, they're tested in animals and for any kind of problem in the animal. And only then do they go into humans where we test in clinical trials with tens of thousands of people before they're authorized for use in the general public,” she reiterated.