IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Eastern Idaho Public Health is combating misinformation when it comes to the coronavirus vaccines.
Amy Gamett, the clinical services division director for EIPH, says one of the myths they hear a lot is the vaccine can change your DNA.
The mRNA vaccines essentially sends a message to your cells to produce a protein, and the body then builds antibodies against it.
"And that when you are exposed to COVID-19 later, then it amounts that defense with those antibodies against the disease," Gamett said. "It just can't change the DNA. You know, if it could that I would want the skinny gene, you know, when it goes in there and changes that. There's just no way for it to change the DNA. You know, basic biology, it doesn't even enter the cell of the nucleus."
It's also safe for pregnant and-or breastfeeding women Gamett says.
"So we know that just in general, any underlying health condition makes you more at risk for COVID disease in general," Gamett said. "And so pregnancy is an underlying medical condition. We're seeing lots of sick moms from COVID itself being in the hospital, higher risk for preterm labor, which also causes, you know, babies to be sick when they're born early as well. And so now we're wanting moms and breastfeeding moms to be vaccinated to help prevent them from preterm labor or early complications or later complications in their pregnancy from COVID."
"When you look at the numbers of, you know, vaccinated, pregnant, unvaccinated, pregnant, everything's the same," Gamett said. "There's no increase in bad outcomes for babies or a small increase in bad outcomes for mom. If there were concerns there, we would see that we would see, you know, higher preterm labor in vaccinated groups. But where we're seeing higher preterm labor is in unvaccinated women getting COVID disease. So, no, we want women that are breastfeeding and pregnant to be vaccinated against COVID."
Gamett also explains how the vaccines were made so quickly and approved.
Scientists were already studying mRNA and viral vector vaccines for years before the pandemic, using diseases like Zika and Ebola.
That research gave them a head start.
"All vaccines go through three clinical phases and the COVID vaccine still did," Gamett said. "The one difference was some of those cases overlapped, but they still completed the whole phase."
Gamett also said they get asked about trackers in the vaccines all the time.
"There are probably easier ways to track people like their phone or their car. But no, I mean, people would, first of all, I think we would notice if we were injecting that in somebody and somebody would probably look at that under a microscope as well. But no, vaccines are meant to prevent disease, not track individuals."
Gamett also addressed the rumors the vaccines make people infertile.
"There's just nothing that would do that in the vaccine," Gamett said.
Gamett also said it's important for anyone with concerns or questions to ask their doctor.
"Talk to a provider, you know, if they have concerns, they've read something on the internet. They've heard a friend say something," Gamett said. "Call us here, Eastern Idaho Public Health and talk to one of our nurses and let us, you know, answer those questions or talk to a provider, you know, and talk to your regular doctor, your regular nurse that you go to and trust and ask them those questions."
You can call EIPH at 208-533-3223 to schedule a vaccination appointment, inquire about booster eligibility or to ask questions.