The Whole Truth: Covid-19 Vaccination | By Stuff reporter Ella Bates-Hermans.
People who spread false information about vaccination often cherry pick and misinterpret to induce fear.
The fact that some vaccines, such as MMR or rotavirus, work by using a weakened, inactivated or altered version of a virus to activate an immune response has been used to fuel fears about the Covid-19 jab.
But the Pfizer vaccine contains neither any live, dead or deactivated virus, nor instructions on how to make the whole virus.
Think of the mRNA as a recipe that tells your cells what proteins to build. The vaccine gives your cells an extra recipe to build a tiny, but crucial part of the Covid-19 virus called the spike protein. The spike is vital because it is what allows the virus to bind onto and infect our cells.
Once your cells have built the spike protein, the immune system sees something that isn’t part of you and makes antibodies to neutralise it. It is these antibodies that can stop the virus.
The spike protein is then digested by the cells into little pieces and disappears. There is no scientific evidence available to suggest spike proteins created in our bodies from the Covid-19 vaccines are toxic or damaging. It is impossible for these to be passed on to someone else.
A small study found evidence of extremely low levels of spike protein fragments following mRNA vaccination - we are talking almost beyond the ability to measure. The fragments became undetectable soon after the body began generating antibodies.
Within a few days after getting the jab, the mRNA will be completely gone. The body makes mRNA all the time and is efficient at getting rid of it so it doesn’t fill up its cells. It is impossible for the mRNA from the vaccine to be shared between two people.
Another piece of correct information which was used to fuel fear comes from studies showing detection of antibodies to the virus in vaccinated people’s saliva.
Some have misinterpreted this information as meaning that remnants of the vaccine were found in the saliva. This is not correct. All of the vaccine’s components disappear within a few days. It is not what’s in the vaccine that needs to remain in the body to fight the virus; it is the immune response triggered by the vaccine that does.
The immune system produces antibodies in response to the vaccine. And because our immune system is very good at protecting our body wherever the virus might present itself, antibodies can be detected in the blood and even in saliva. That’s a good thing and exactly what we want to see after a vaccine.
Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever and fatigue. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.
Reporting disclosure statement: Clinical immunologist, allergist and immunopathologist Dr Maia Brewerton and Auckland University vaccinologist Helen Petousis-Harris provided expert comment for this article. Brewerton, as an expert panel member for The Whole Truth: Covid-19 Vaccination, also reviewed this article before publication.