Get Vaccinated, Stay Healthy

As the end of year approaches at Shippensburg University, it is important to keep in mind the health and well-being of family and friends as students begin to make their way home. The COVID-19 vaccination should be received to protect students and their communities as they go home this spring.

The Myths

When searching for information about this vaccine, so much of the news can be riddled with political response to the virus instead of scientific response. The pandemic is an issue of disease control and should be left to scientists to solve. Be sure that when trusting information that it comes from a reputable source.

One myth surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine is that it can impact fertility. This myth is based on a letter sent to the European Medicine Agency that claimed that there was a protein inside the vaccine that was dangerous to women’s fertility. There is however no scientific evidence that this is true, and the protein has not been found inside any of the vaccines.

Dr. Robin McCann, a professor of chemistry at Shippensburg University specializes in pharmacology, said “There is currently no evidence that any of the COVID vaccines cause infertility.  In fact, the clinical study done to get the emergency authorization for the vaccines all enrolled women and some of those women became pregnant after getting the vaccines.  The fertility rate for the test population was identical to the fertility rates of the general population.”

This myth, like most, stemmed from a kernel of truth and was twisted until it became a widely circulated fact online.

Another myth I discovered is that the vaccine can have lasting side effects such as tremors. While there has been one reported case of a women in India who may have had an adverse reaction to the vaccine resulting in these tremors, it remains unclear if she had other medical complications that could have caused this reaction.

Dr. McCann stated, “I tried to find any reports of the Moderna vaccine reporting other patients having tremors or similar symptoms.  I could not find any other confirmed side effects.  When you read the side effects list that is being tracked by the WHO this is not one of the common ones.” She goes further in saying that the negative side effects listed by the WHO (World Health Organization) are often short lived.

The Facts

The COVID vaccine is an RNA vaccine. RNA vaccines have in use for over 20 years to combat HIV, Zika, Rabies, and forms of cancer. They have been studied since the late 90s and have not been found to be harmful to date.

The RNA vaccine works by introducing a piece of ribonucleic acid (RNA) containing instructions for the body’s cells to make a portion of the spike protein found in the COVID-19 virus. The RNA, surrounded by lipid molecules, enters the cells and, once making the spike protein, triggers the immune system. This response is what results in antibodies to the spike protein and in turn the COVID-19 virus itself.

“Traditional vaccines are different because they typically use an inactivated or weakened virus to get your immune system to respond,” said Dr. McCann. “The RNA vaccines are showing to create a stronger response by our immune system, so they are working really well.  I do want to note that the RNA cannot be incorporated into your own cellular DNA or genome. It is unstable and will only be present for a short period of time so there is no risk of permanently changing your genes.”

My COVID Story

During the spring semester my dad tested positive for COVID-19. He woke up one morning a few weeks ago struggling to breathe. My mom took him to the hospital they confirmed it was COVID. The experience was very touch and go. He was hospitalized for eight days.

In that time, as he struggled to breath, they started screening him for blood clots. We all waited with trepidation for the results and during that period of time my focus slipped away from school.

A day later we found out that he was, thankfully, clot free. Unfortunately, they were unsure if clots could still form in his system, so they put him on blood thinners.

I could not even go home to be with my family because I had not been vaccinated yet and it was the middle of the semester. It was horrible to be stuck at school as I waited for news about his condition.

My father could have died, and I was not there.

I found out that the vaccine was available on campus and my job helped set me up with an appointment. I finally felt like I was doing something productive.

When my dad was discharged, my mom began doing research on the vaccine. She had first avoided the vaccine because she did not feel know enough about it yet. As a nurse herself, she was able to talk directly to a disease specialist she worked with and who she trusted.

He explained how the vaccine worked and ensure her it was safe.

Students, It’s Your Turn

By getting vaccinated, you can ensure a greater college experience when classes are back in session.

Students can schedule an appointment with a provider closest to them. Students should do this as soon as possible, especially with the summer months just around the corner. It is vital to note that the vaccine comes in two doses. Should you get the first dose before going home it is imperative that you receive a second dose of the same type from another provider.

For the vaccine to be effective you will need both doses of Pfizer, or Moderna.

The Department of Health will provide support for those needing a second dose if they should go home before the dose is available to them. The process is easy, and the vaccine is available in dozens of places including local pharmacies.

Stay healthy, getting vaccinated.

For More Information Visit:

Information from CDC

Information from WHO (World Health Organization)

Information from John Hopkins Covid Virus Research Center

COVID-19 Vaccine Website

COVID-19 Vaccine Provider

Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan

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