Who should not take vaccines? Fake advisory is going viral; Fact Check

A circular stating who should not take vaccines is going viral. The one-page circular is in Hindi states six points. The six points further lay down who should not take the vaccine and why. The message roughly translates to:

  1. Women who are not married should not take the vaccine (chances of not being able to conceive)
  2. Children should stay away (chances of infections in the future)
  3. People with pneumonia, asthma, or bronchitis or any other respiratory disease (chances of death due to side effects)
  4. People who consume alcohol, cigarettes, or tobacco (chances of cancer)
  5. People with neural problems (disease can increase)
  6. Diabetic patients (even with little side effect, the person can die)

 

Apart from these pointers, the circular also implies that “vaccine companies and politicians hide the side effects of the vaccines”. It also claims that vaccines are introduced “for business and population control”.

It is signed by five persons — “Dr Tarun Kothari MBBS MD Delhi, Dr BK Tumane MBBS MD Nagpur, Dr Biswaroop Roy Choudhary Medical Activist Delhi, Dr Vilas Jagdale MD and Medical Activist Orangabad, Dr Leo Rebello Director Natural Health Centre Mumbai”. It has the stamp of NICE — Network of Influenza Care Experts.

Fact Check:

Coming to the circular, the claim that vaccines might result in infertility is unfounded. There is no “plausible biological mechanism” by which the vaccine could affect your fertility, says Prof Lucy Chappell, a professor in obstetrics at King’s College London and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in a report by BBC.

For people with respiratory conditions, the British Thoracic Society states that “None of the current vaccines for COVID-19 are ‘live’ vaccines and so they can safely be given to individuals who are immunosuppressed (the Oxford/AZ vaccine contains an adenovirus vector but this is non-replicating and is hence safe). Most individuals with immunosuppression will develop some immune responses, and ongoing shielding will offset a reduced effect.”

In a February 2021 report, a study stated that smokers should be prioritized for covid vaccine shots. “People who smoke or were smokers in the past are at a higher risk for developing coronavirus.”

Speaking to Dr Rahul Ranjan based in Jamshedpur, said that “diabetics should definitely take the COVID-19 vaccine because they are at a greater risk for developing influenza-like conditions.” Doctors urge people with comorbidities to take the COVID-19 vaccine without hesitation. The list of comorbidities includes cardiovascular ailments, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, AIDS and persons with disabilities.

On January 14, 2021, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare circulated a note on precautions and contraindications. The circular lists down the reasons not to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to certain people. According to the government circular,

– vaccine is given only to citizens who are 18 years of age and above.

– The note also asks not to administer vaccines to pregnant and lactating women. “Pregnant and lactating women have not been a part of any COVID-19 vaccine trial so far.”

– “Vaccine should be administered with caution in persons with history of any bleeding or coagulation disorder”

– Vaccines should also not be administered to immunodeficient people, HIV patients, or patients on immune suppression.

The ministry suggested that acutely unwell people or hospitalised or those infected with Covid-19 or administered plasma should delay their vaccination by 4-8 weeks. The government has two vaccines- Covishield by Serum Institute of India and Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and National Institute of Virology.

About people receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the World Health Organization (apart from the above pointers) suggests that “people with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take it.”

A detailed fact sheet released by Bharat Biotech says those with bleeding disorders or on blood thinners should avoid taking the shot for now.

Side effects like muscle aches, fever, or fatigue are common with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Anti-vaxers

Dr Biswaroop Roy Choudhary is a self-proclaimed doctor who’s in the forefront of anti-vaxers in India. He has claimed that masks are ineffective and unnecessary. He also has a “miracle diet” to cure diabetes. In his book on COVID-19, he says that he will pay Rs 1 lakh to people if they can prove that “vaccines have ever helped anyone in any way (except for financial gains).” He has also been vocal about anti-vaccination. But the experts have a different view as far as the Covid-19 vaccinations are concerned.

Claim: Six reasons why one should not take Covid vaccination

Rating:

The claims made in the circular are unfounded. These claims spread misinformation and stop people from taking the vaccine. Our rating – Misrepresentation.

About Snigdha Nalini

Snigdha Nalini is an intern with Digiteye India and a student of journalism at the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC), Pune. She can be reached at snigdha@digiteye.in.

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