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What is the effect of non-vaccinated people on vaccinated people?

What is the effect of non-vaccinated people on vaccinated people?


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Many times have I heard that anti-vaccine people are dangerous even to the vaccinated population. Is that true? If so, how can it be? People say that germs will attack them, and soon they would eventually grow and spread even toward general population which actually got its vaccines.

I mean it's so counter-intuitive: if I'm vaccinated even when disease will spread I shouldn't be in danger.


Biology is rarely black or white, all or nothing. Protective immunity is generally not an on/off switch, where from the moment you're vaccinated you're infinitely resistant for the rest of your life. You shouldn't expect that, having received a smallpox vaccine, you could have billions of smallpox viruses squirted directly into your lungs and shrug it off without noticing.

Given that (fairly obvious) fact, you should immediately think of scenarios where vaccinated people are still at risk of disease following exposure to unvaccinated people. What about older people who were vaccinated 20 years ago, 50 years ago? What about people whose immune systems are slightly weakened through lack of sleep or obesity or stress? Any of these vaccinated people might well be protected against a brief encounter, but not against, say, being in an airplane seat for 18 hours beside an infected child shedding huge amounts of virus, or caring for their sick child.

It's all sliders, not switches. You can have a slight loss of immunity (4 hours sleep last night) and be protected against everything except a large exposure (your baby got infected and won't rest unless you hold him for 8 hours). You can have a moderate loss of immunity (you were vaccinated twenty years ago) and be protected against most exposures, but you're sitting next to someone on the subway for an hour. You may have a significant loss of immunity (you're a frail 80-year-old) and still be protected against a moderate exposure, but your grandchild is visiting for a week.


Since 2000, in the United States alone, there were 16 reports of outbreaks or groups of outbreaks where the outbreak started with an initial case in an unvaccinated individual and resulted in disease in previously vaccinated individuals. The epidemiology of pertussis is a little different, and transmission happens in many cases apart from a clear outbreak, but there are several documented pertussis outbreaks that led to disease in vaccinated individuals as well. This JAMA report provides a good summary.

Herd immunity is important, especially in highly contagious diseases with no significant non-human reservoir, e.g., measles and pertussis. @iayork's answer is correct that vaccination is not an on/off switch. About 15% of measles cases in the US involve vaccinated individuals, and these have all been the result of transmission that started with an initial unvaccinated case (see previous reference).

These are bad diseases. They can cause serious illness. Half of infants who get pertussis need care in the hospital. For measles, 25% of all cases involve hospitalization. For both, life long disability (deafness, brain damage) and death are real possibilities. 1 in 100 infants with pertussis die, 1-2 in 1000 measles cases die. The harm intentionally unvaccinated people cause to vaccinated people and people who can't get vaccinated (because of their age or other health problems) is real and well documented.

Edit:

In light of another answer and some comments, I'm adding a couple paragraphs putting vaccination in context with other strategies for prevention of infectious disease.

Relevant to this question, as is clear from the epidemiological data discussed above, vaccines are not 100% effective. Some vaccines are more effective than others. Measles vaccine, for example, is in the mid to high 90s. Flu vaccine effectiveness, depending on the population and year, can range from the 40s to the 80s. You can read about vaccine effectiveness in the CDC pink book, Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases.

Other strategies for preventing infectious diseases depend on the great diversity of host/pathogen interactions. A few things are generally useful, and often effective. Wash your hands, wear a condom, and stay home when you have a fever. There is no good data on the general advice to stay home when you have a fever, but quarantine is effective for specific illnesses, especially in concert with vaccination and other preventative measures (see the CDC pink book). Limiting the isolation and sedentary behavior associated with staying home to cases where there is a fever has biological plausibility and minimizes the negative immune and other health effects of those behaviors (see Cecil Medicine, Chapter 288).

Along with vaccines, each of the strategies mentioned in the previous paragraph helps protect the individual who uses them as well as other people. So they are good for you and the people around you. You can practice all of them. I'm confused, but not surprised, when the effectiveness of some other strategy is used as an argument against the use of any of the others. You can compare the measured preventative efficacy and effectiveness of each strategy, and come to the conclusion that vaccines generally give the best results (both on an individual and population level), but I'm not sure why, for example, you would decide not to wash your hands because you got a particular vaccine, or not to get vaccinated because you washed your hands.


Something which may help is a model. There is a standard model based on a key number called R₀, the basic reproductive number. This is a highly boiled up number which indicates how many uninfected people will be infected by a single infected individual. Trivially, if R₀>1, the disease will spread through society, and if R₀<1, it will vanish because each infected generation infect fewer new people each generation. R₀ is basically derived from the number of contacts a person can make before showing enough symptoms to sequester them at home, times the chance of any interaction transmitting the infection. The longer the incubation period and the more infectious the disease, the higher R₀ is.

It's a massively massively boiled up model. You can look to science for more accurate models which account for all sorts of features. However, it is a good enough model to demonstrate a concept called herd immunity. Herd immunity decreases the odds of a contact with an infected person spreading the disease. After all, a vaccinated individual is far more likely to go unaffected. This is typically modeled with an extra factor S, such that the reproductive rate of the disease is R₀S. If q is the vaccinated portion of the society, then (1-q) is the number of succeptable people, so the reproductive rate is R₀(1-q).

Now remember, if the reproducitve rate is greater than 1, the disease flourishes. If it's less than 1, it dies off. Having a strong vaccinated base has been shown to be a very effective way of keeping that reproductive rate down.

Consider, as an example, Measles. Measles is considered to be an excellent disease for demonstrating herd immunity. Its R₀ is somewhere between 12-18, meaning each infected person is likely to infect 12-18 people before getting quarantined. If a populus is 95% vaccinated, then the reproductive rate drops to R₀*(1-.95), which is somewhere between .6 and .9. This means the disease will die out if the population is that vaccinated.

Again, modeling based on the basic reproductive number is considered to be a gross tool, but it is effective at demonstrating the risks associated with insufficient vaccinations. If there is a large enough unvaccinated pool to let the disease flourish, everyone is exposed to the disease every day as it runs rampant in the society. Vaccines are awesome, but they are not magic bullets. You can still get diseases after being vaccinated, it's just much more rare (the term to look up is Vaccine Efficacy). The more you're around a disease, the more likely it is that you just get unlucky. Even a vaccinated person benefits from a reproductive rate less than 1, so that the disease never flourishes in the first place. The less effective a vaccine is, the more one is dependent on a high rate of immunization to drive the reproductive rate down below 1.

Also, another strong argument for vaccination is the presence of immunocompromized individuals. Many individuals cannot receive vaccinations for one medical reason or another. For instance, immunizing someone with HIV is a tricky business which I would refer one to a doctor for more information. Those on transplant lists may be advised against receiving vaccinations. These individuals are entirely dependent on the so-called herd immunity effect to insulate them from these diseases. As the reproductive rate for a disease gets closer or above one, it becomes hard to protect these individuals.


Think of every human being as being a walking petri-dish, full of growth medium. When you grow a large colony of micro-organisms, you are allowing that population to experience a larger number of mutations. Every mutation is one more potentional strain that can beat the defenses of our immune systems, even those provided by vaccines. So, if you don't get vaccinated, you are potentially providing safe harbor to the micro-biological parent of the next vaccine-resistant/anti-biotic-resistant super-flu.

This same principle is why large super farms are so dangerous: huge numbers of animals provide more opportunities for micro-organisms to experience mutations that allow them to infect more resistant hosts. The fewer hosts that a micro-organism can infect, the lower the number of opportunities for mutation.

This is one facet of the issue, among those others have mentioned.


Debunked: No, unvaccinated people can't get health problems from being around those who are vaccinated

CLAIMS ARE BEING made and shared online that the Covid-19 vaccines can affect the health of people who have not been vaccinated, just by being around people who have received a vaccination.

The claims typically posit that vaccinated people can ‘shed’ the vaccine, and that by spending time with vaccinated people, unvaccinated people can become ill, experiencing symptoms like nose bleeds or irregular menstrual cycles.

The claims we have seen online typically say that a person who has been unvaccinated can experience symptoms such as rashes, nose bleeds or irregular periods after being in contact with a vaccinated person. No claims we saw described the person experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.

Some proponents of the claim believe that those who have not had the vaccine should stay away from people who’ve been vaccinated. One claim being made is that the vaccine is “coming out through breath… through pores”.

The same woman who made this claim said that some unvaccinated people had experienced strange bruising caused by ‘shedding’ from vaccinated people, and that pets had died after being exposed to vaccinated people.

Among the claims shared on Facebook:

The ‘spike protein’ mentioned above is explained by Dr Seamus Lennon here, in relation to mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines:

“When introduced to patients, the RNA is taken up by the patient’s cells, and this RNA then produces the spike protein, which is displayed on the cell surface. Immune cells recognise the spike protein as foreign and manufacture antibodies against it.

“Thus, if the patient is subsequently exposed to coronavirus, antibodies will be produced rapidly which will neutralise the virus, and Covid-19 will not develop.”

To get to the bottom of these claims about shedding, The Journal spoke to Dr Kim Roberts, virology lecturer and assistant professor at Trinity College, Dublin, in its Department of Microbiology. She leads its Virology research group.

Typically “virus shedding” in the context of vaccines refers to the small amount of vaccine-derived virus that can sometimes be released from a vaccinated person, after they have had a live-attenuated or live-weakened vaccine.

Examples of this type of vaccine are the nasal spray seasonal influenza vaccine that was offered to kids this winter and the oral polio vaccine that is no longer used in Ireland, which people used to get on their tongue (or on a sugar lump if they were lucky).

It’s important to remember though that these weakened vaccine viruses have been altered so that they do not cause disease, but they are very good at stimulating a good, long-lasting immune response that protects people from the disease-causing versions of virus that people can be exposed to in the community.

Most of the vaccines we use today do not contain replicating virus and so vaccinated people do not shed virus or viral proteins from these vaccines.

These include vaccines that contain inactivated or “killed” virus like the current polio vaccine, or virus which can’t replicate like the Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

There are also vaccines that only contain protein separated from virus, like the seasonal influenza vaccine that is injected into the arm, or the HPV vaccine.

The mRNA vaccines are a new way of delivering viral protein into cells to stimulate the immune response. The mRNA acts as the recipe so that your cells make the protein themselves.

This is thought to stimulate a stronger immune response than simply delivering the viral protein readymade. However, your cells are not able to make more copies of the mRNA and the mRNA does not last very long in the cells.

One of the developmental hurdles in creating the mRNA vaccines has been the difficult job of delivering the mRNA into cells before the body can destroy it.

There is no evidence that vaccine-derived mRNA or viral spike protein is excreted from vaccinated people.

There is no evidence that vaccine-derived SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is excreted from vaccinated people.

It’s worth remembering that the current COVID-19 vaccines do not use live or killed virus, but rather they only express the viral surface spike protein which does not cause disease.

Only the replicating whole virus is infectious and can cause disease.

  • Could a vaccine ‘shed’ and affect a person who spends time with a vaccinated person?

In limited circumstances, live-weakened vaccine viruses can be passed to people who have not been vaccinated.

For example, the nasal spray influenza vaccine has been found to be released from nasal secretions of young vaccinated children for a week or so, but this is still the weakened virus and does not cause disease.

Similarly, weakened poliovirus from the oral poliovirus vaccine can be found in the faeces of vaccinated children.

This can cause problems for people who are severely immunocompromised, or in very rare circumstances adults who have never received the polio vaccine – and this is why the oral polio vaccine has been phased out as the world gets closer to eradicating polio.

The current COVID-19 vaccines use either mRNA or non-replicating virus to present the coronavirus surface spike protein to your immune system. These are not contagious and cannot be transmitted to other people.

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There is no evidence from the clinical trials or the ongoing surveillance that COVID vaccines affect menstruation or fertility.

When it comes to killed, protein-only or mRNA vaccines, these are not contagious and cannot be transmitted to non-vaccinated people. The current COVID-19 vaccines use either mRNA or non-replicating virus to present the coronavirus surface spike protein to your immune system. These are not contagious and cannot be transmitted to other people.

Conclusions

As Dr Roberts’ responses show, the claims that unvaccinated people became ill, experienced nosebleeds or had irregular menstrual cycles as a result of being around vaccinated people, are physically not possible.

If these things did happen, as claimed, it would not have been due to being in proximity to a vaccinated person.

Regarding the impact of the virus on the menstrual cycle for those who have been vaccinated, there has not been data linking the vaccines to changes in menstruation so far – but scientists have been calling for more work to be done in this area. An associate professor at the University of Illinois is doing a survey of whether people have experienced changes in menstruation post-vaccine, but no other large-scale study has been released so far.

“We are aware of misinformation about risks associated with taking Covid-19 vaccines and an impact on fertility. There is no evidence that taking any of the Covid-19 vaccines affects a woman’s future ability to conceive, or to continue a pregnancy.”

There is a lot of false news and scaremongering being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not.

Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere.

Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate.

Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.


Feature Article: If Vaccines Work, Why Do Unvaccinated People Pose a Risk?

Some people ask the question, “If vaccines work, why do unvaccinated people present a risk to those who have been vaccinated?” Two simple facts contribute to this answer. First: Vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective. So even some people who are vaccinated will still be at risk. Second: The greater the number of unvaccinated people in a community, the more opportunity germs have to spread. This means outbreaks are more difficult to stem and everyone is at greater risk of exposure — including vaccinated people.

This latter concept is known as community immunity, or more commonly, herd immunity. Each member of the community contributes to the collective health of the community because the way a pathogen survives is by finding new people to infect. The fewer susceptible people in a community, the less opportunity the pathogen has to spread.

Interestingly, people often do not think about the fact that there are times when every family needs the protection of their community. New babies and infants may be too young to be vaccinated, and older adults or adults being treated for illnesses may be more susceptible to infections as well.

To read more about community immunity and to find considerations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated family members, review the Vaccine Education Center’s newest “Special Topics Q&A” sheet Vaccinated or Unvaccinated: What You Should Know.


New Data on COVID-19 Transmission by Vaccinated Individuals

In a recent White House press briefing, CDC director Rochelle Walensky cited new data indicating that the two-dose regimen of COVID-19 vaccines can reduce the risk of asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections.

What does this mean, exactly? And what might data like this suggest for public health guidance going forward? Amesh Adalja, MD, of the Center for Health Security, answers a few questions about our evolving understanding of immunity and COVID vaccines.

Can we say with any degree of certainty that vaccinated people are unlikely to spread COVID to unvaccinated individuals?

The emerging data confirms what many of us thought would be the case—that not only do the vaccines stop symptomatic COVID, but they also make it highly unlikely that someone can even be infected at all.

I think the preponderance of the evidence supports the fact that vaccinated individuals are not able to spread the virus.

What do we know about one-dose regimens, either single-dose vaccines or a delayed second dose that some nations have implemented to increase the availability of vaccines?

There is significant immunity that is engendered two weeks after a single dose of the two-dose vaccines, and though the data is more robust for the approved two-dose schedules, countries that prioritized first doses took a reasonable approach.

What is known about the variants of concern and their ability to infect fully vaccinated individuals?

When it comes to variants, it is likely the case that it depends on the variant and depends on the vaccine.

The B.1.1.7 variant (first identified in the U.K.) is one that vaccines appear robust against. The more concerning B.1.351 variant (first identified in South Africa) appears to pose problems for the J&J vaccine but not where it counts in terms of presenting serious disease, hospitalization, and death. Data on the P.1 variant (first identified in Brazil) is forthcoming, but I suspect it will be similar to the B1.351 variant.

Current guidance states that even fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks and social distance. What’s the logic behind that?

Operationally, it is very challenging to know who is vaccinated and who is not, so the guidance in public places likely will be slow to change until more people are vaccinated. You can’t expect a cashier to ask for proof of vaccination.


Is This the Most Incendiary COVID Conspiracy Freakout of All?

“They are not even technically human anymore. Vaccinated people are honestly a threat to humanity as a whole,” one anti-vaxxer wrote of the meme vilifying those who get the jab.

Mark Hay

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast / Photos via Getty/Youtube

While much of the country has embraced the rapid pace of COVID-19 vaccinations as a sign that a return to normal life is just around the corner, one segment of the population has been ginning up fears that mass inoculation is actually an existential threat to the future of the human race.

This long-simmering idea, which could not only help to steer some people away from vaccines but also fan the flames of already volatile cultural divisions and conflicts, came into stark focus in mid-March, when a meme spread across pandemic denialist Telegram channels, featuring a large image of two sheep fucking, and a block of text that reads: “DO NOT BREED WITH SHEEP.”

“People who are vaccinated will have modified DNA,” it continues. “No one discusses that DNA is passed onto the next generation. The risk that your children will marry into other cultures is possibly now shadowed by the fact that your children may marry into a COVID vaxed gene group potentially shortening their lives and that of others.”

This is, of course, complete nonsense. Although they use genetically engineered components, none of the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. interacts with, much less changes, our DNA. “I don’t see any way the vaccines could even unintentionally cause genetic changes,” says Paul Knoepfler, a cell biologist and genetics researcher at the University of California, Davis. “It’s just not going to happen.”

Yet despite its wild and unfounded claims, this meme found some traction in niche Telegram dis- and misinformation groups, as well as on conspiratorial blogs with wider readerships it’s even been reposted a few times on mainstream social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. A number of individuals have also been independently voicing similar concerns for months now: As far back as mid-December, a Redditor created a thread on the platform’s COVID conspiracy-obsessed No New Normal forum to ask, “Will the RNA covid vaccine effect the takers children’s DNA?”

Months later on the same forum, another user sparked a discussion essentially vilifying those who get vaccinated with a post complaining about the challenges of finding men to date who aren’t “mindless sheep” and arguing that people who get the jab will have “weird little vaccine effected offspring.” Responding to that post, yet another Redditor suggested that soon enough “only vaccinated people will marry each other while non vaccinated will also get married,” and that this “will split the human race into a fake race. The Vaccinated Race.”

The Daily Beast reached out to a number of individuals who have posted these sentiments, but none of them replied.

These lowkey freakouts about the supposed insidious, intergenerational genetic contamination COVID vaccines and vaccinated people are foisting on all of humanity are not exceptionally common, even in dedicated pandemic and vaccine skeptical spaces. But they are logical extensions of “a core misconception that the COVID-19 vaccines alter your DNA,” as University of Pennsylvania misinformation monitoring expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson puts it, which speak to the length some skeptics’ and denialists’ fears and conspiracies can go. And if these specific ideas gain adherents—as some experts believe they likely will over the coming months and years—they could exacerbate growing rifts between these groups and everyone else.

At their heart, Mark Alfano, a Macquarie University researcher who studies anti-vaxxer digital bubbles, suggests that concerns about vaccines causing fundamental and enduring contamination in people go back to at least the early-to-mid-19th century—before the discovery of DNA. Some folks at the time just couldn’t get past their gut feeling that inserting something created by scientists into a human body was so unnatural that it might “change something essential about a vaccinated person.”

Experiments with DNA in the mid-to-late 20th century, which led to the creation of genetically modified organisms, gave rise to a separate thread of conspiracies about the potential misuse of this tech to warp natural humans. And about the potential for poorly thought-out or controlled mutations to somehow spill into the wider world, causing untold—and usually unspecified—pain and chaos.

Anti-vaxxers and general conspiracy theorists attuned to both of these strains of thought have tried to fuse them for decades, often arguing that vaccines are a key vector for plots to secretly “edit the health of human beings,” explains Callum Hood of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a think tank that studies conspiratorial groups. Prominent anti-vaxxers actually caught onto research into the mRNA vaccination techniques being deployed for the first time in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines about a decade ago, adds David Gorski, a doctor who’s studied and critiqued anti-vax groups for over 20 years.

So, it came as no surprise to many anti-vax watchers that, when the news broke last spring that big pharma companies were using mRNA modification tech to develop COVID-19 vaccines, memes and screeds started to pop up in conspiratorial circles almost instantly, making wild cases for how these vaccines would fundamentally change the DNA of anyone they touched. After the vaccines started rolling out last fall, fears of harmful, non-consensual DNA alterations quickly became “some of the most common conspiracy theories about the vaccines,” says Gorski.

However, core claims about the DNA altering potential of COVID vaccines are usually light on details—like what specific bad things these sinister, forced mutations will actually do to people. That vagueness has given rise to a host of inflections on this core, underlying fear, Jamieson notes, usually informed by other conspiracies or bits of information individuals have latched onto. These speculations run the gamut—and often contradict each other: Pfizer wants to program all men to have chronic erectile dysfunction so they can sell more Viagra. Or, Bill Gates and his fellow cabalistic elite power brokers want to sterilize as many people as possible as a means of population control. Or, the powers that be want to turn us into genetically modified humans so that we are technically no longer actual humans, and are thus not entitled to our supposedly God-given human rights, enabling our wanton enslavement and exploitation. (It should go without saying, but all of these theories are also baseless.)

Most elaborations on DNA alteration fears focus on what exactly vaccines will supposedly do to those who get them, because that combines with other what-if and what-about scare tactics to reinforce the personal choice, or convince others, to avoid vaccination. But Jamieson notes it’s simply a logical next step for some people to also wonder how vaccinated folks could affect others. These speculations offer the so-called proof some stringently anti-vax individuals seek that vaccines—and vaccinated people—are universally dangerous.

Awareness of the mechanics and risks of sexually transmitted diseases serve as fear-mongering fodder for some anti-vaxxers, allowing them to stoke concerns about the supposed risks of being exposed to a sexual partner’s warped genetic material. Or, as one Redditor put it: “I would be terrified to let some vaccinated guy blow his genetically modified load inside of me. I’m scared to even exchange saliva with these people. There’s no telling what the hell they’ve been shot up with.”

Fears of multigenerational contamination, however, likely stem from a newer and less familiar informational nugget, the experts The Daily Beast spoke to suggested: Knowledge of the real ethical debates around CRISPR, the first technology to really make heritable edits to the human genome practical. CRISPR’s astounding potential has sparked serious and highly visible debate among scientists and policy makers about the implications of human genetic editing, explains Dietram Scheufele, an expert on public awareness of and attitude formation about emerging technologies at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Few conspiracy theorists understand how CRISPR—or even DNA—actually works, Jamieson notes. But a scrap of knowledge about the legitimate viability of, and real scientific concerns about, heritable gene editing is enough for some individuals to spin outlandish theories about the dangers of breeding with sheep. Common mistrust of scientists and other traditional authorities in pandemic and vaccine skeptical circles also allows people to brush off or explain away efforts to debunk their theories, Jamieson adds.

It’s hard to say how far any individual variation on the OMG they’re going to alter our genes with vaccines theme will spread. And Jamieson noted that few disinformation trackers are actively tracing or addressing calls to avoid sex and procreation with vaccinated people specifically. Usually by the time people go all the way down that rabbit hole, she explained, “they’ve already believed 50 other things that make them less likely to get vaccinated. So this idea isn’t likely to have any real effect on attempts to reach herd immunity.”

But Jamieson and a few other experts The Daily Beast consulted for this article suggest that do not breed with sheep-type rhetoric can still have real and substantial effects on pandemic and vaccine skeptics and their communities. It could, in theory, “deepen their anchorage to their communities, or increase their disposition to communicate their ideas to people they might be able to influence,” Jamieson noted. After all, fear-mongering about intergenerational genetic contamination sets up the idea that vaccinated people are both fundamentally different and dangerous, and so suggests that it’s better to only mix with, and bring as many folks as possible into, anti-vax circles.

While this sort of rhetoric has not caught fire yet, Scheufele and other experts think that there is a good chance that it will in the near future, “as CRISPR develops as a tool for medicine, including individual genetic therapies, and as we likely get into a cycle of annual COVID booster shots.” (Although yearly booster shots may indeed be necessary, medical experts are not certain about the need for them yet.)

If this concern about genetic contamination, belief in the need for segregation along vaccination status lines, and suggestion that vaccinated individuals are inhuman others does indeed grow in the coming months or years… well, it’s not hard to imagine the polarization and conflict they will foster.

“They are now genetically modified humans,” the admin of a major pandemic misinformation Telegram channel that spread the do not sleep with sheep meme wrote about vaccinated individuals in a community chat last month. “They are not even technically human anymore.”


California and Vaccinations

According to the latest state data, more than 13 million Californians have been fully vaccinated — that’s 32% of eligible Californians over 16 years of age. Almost half of eligible Californians have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

“The number of post vaccination cases remains small considering there are more than 12.9 million fully vaccinated individuals in California,” the California Department of Public Health said in a statement. “Currently, 3,084 post-vaccination cases have been identified between January 1, 2021 and April 28, 2021.”

To put that number in perspective, that’s about 1 in 4,200 or so vaccinated Californians.

Both of the public health experts we spoke to encouraged Californians to continue to get their COVID vaccines and help the state reach “herd immunity.”


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The Political Argument

Politically, this is where America could potentially sink into the abyss of never having true freedom again. “Medical tyranny,” one might call it.

Remember, we are only in this dire situation because governors in 49 out of 50 states unconstitutionally shut down all “non-essential businesses” and issued draconian “stay-at-home orders.”

Although some states have mostly reopened, like Florida, for example, it’s not unrealistic to say I don’t foresee most states reopening until most of the population receives the vaccine.

They are waiting on it to become either widely available or widely administered—and we’ll find out which is which very soon.

While President Trump says the vaccine will be made available for “those who want it,” indicating that it will not be mandated, other entities may disagree.

What’s to stop certain governors, the travel industry, or private businesses, for example, from mandating that their residents and customers show proof of vaccination?

Furthermore, if Joe Biden takes office, there’s no telling what his administration will do when it comes to ensuring Americans are vaccinated.

The bottom line is, if we all run out and get the vaccine now, those who hold political power will now hold medical power over the people too. That is a terrifying thought that our Founding Fathers have warned us against.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medication they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”


Being near to people vaccinated against Covid-19 won’t give you side effects

You can get side effects of Covid-19 vaccines simply by being in close proximity to someone who has had the vaccine.

Our verdict

This is false. There is nothing in the Covid-19 vaccines used in the UK that could cause vaccine shedding.

Some social media posts claim that unvaccinated people can experience Covid-19 vaccine side effects, particularly issues with fertility, simply by being in close proximity to people who have had a vaccine.

This is not true. The three types of vaccine developed to stop SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19, do not contain materials that could lead to &ldquovaccine shedding&rdquo. There is also no evidence that vaccines affect fertility.

Fears about vaccine shedding, especially in live attenuated vaccines, are based on viral shedding, the process by which cells of the body release viral particles and could therefore, theoretically, increase the risk of infecting others.

Live attenuated vaccines, often referred to simply as live vaccines, contain whole bacteria or viruses which have been weakened (attenuated) so they can stimulate an immune response but do not actually cause the disease in healthy people.

There are three Covid-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the UK&mdashPfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford and Moderna. None of them use a live version of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told Full Fact: &ldquoI can&rsquot think of any biologically plausible mechanism for shedding of components of any of the licensed Covid-19 vaccines after immunisation.&rdquo

Former chair of the BMA&rsquos Public Health Medicine Committee Dr Peter English, a retired consultant specialising in communicable disease control, told us: &ldquoThe mRNA vaccines [Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna] do not contain anything that replicates and could possibly infect anyone else.

&ldquoIt&rsquos absolutely ridiculous to suggest that there could be any shedding of anything from someone who's had one of those vaccines.&rdquo

Dr English, a former editor of Vaccines in Practice magazine, added: &ldquoThe other type of vaccine used in Covid-19 is the vector vaccine [Oxford-AstraZeneca], and there I can see that people might be concerned about people being infectious with the vector virus.

&ldquoBut those viruses are replication deficient&hellip which means the [scientists] can grow them in a culture by adding an additive, which the viruses need to replicate but doesn&rsquot exist in the human body.

&ldquoOnce they stick them in the human body they can&rsquot actually produce more copies of themselves. All they can do is produce copies of the spike protein, so they can&rsquot be passed on to anyone else either.

&ldquoThe suggestion that anybody could be infected with the vaccine virus by being in contact with someone who&rsquos been vaccinated is pure misinformation at best, and disinformation at worst.&rdquo

There is a third type of vaccine, known as antigen vaccines, none of which have yet been approved for use in the UK. Similarly to the mRNA vaccine, Dr English said, there is nothing in these vaccines &ldquothat could possibly be shed or passed on&rdquo.

One of the social media posts claims vaccine shedding from the Covid-19 vaccine can cause &ldquobleeding, bruising, spontaneous periods and miscarriages&rdquo while another warns of &ldquoanecdotal&rdquo evidence that women are reporting &ldquomiscarriage, suddenly bleeding while pregnant, heavy periods and irregular cycles&rdquo after being in contact with people who have been vaccinated. We can find no confirmed reports of this. At the time of writing, pregnant women in the UK are being offered the Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations after evidence from the US showed there were no specific safety concerns. Public Health England says that it &ldquostill advises that pregnant women should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their clinician.&rdquo

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because there is no evidence that any of the materials in the Covid-19 vaccine could cause vaccine shedding.


  • How effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
  • How well the vaccines protect people with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications.
  • How long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.

As we know more, CDC will continue to update our recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Want to learn more about these recommendations? Read our expanded Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.



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