Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect Sears twists facts about COVID-19 vaccines

in a interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines that we previously debunked.

CNN host Dana Bash, November 21So, why is it OK to mandate childhood vaccines in Virginia for so many diseases, but not for COVID?

sears: Well, let’s ask. And I’m not saying yes or no. Let’s ask: If the purpose of the COVID vaccine is to prevent us from getting COVID, why should those who have had COVID get the vaccine? One does not follow the other.

Sears, a Republican who won November 3 elections and become the state’s first female lieutenant governor, argues that vaccine mandates should not apply to those already infected with COVID-19. But, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, people who have already had COVID-19 should be vaccinated for two reasons:

  • “Research has not shown how long you are protected against getting COVID-19 again after you recover from COVID-19.
  • “Vaccination helps protect you, even if you’ve already had COVID-19.”

as we have explained On other occasionsA growing body of research shows that Covid-19 vaccines provide extra protection for those previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people get vaccinated even if they have COVID-19.

For more, see “Vaccines benefit those who have had COVID-19 as opposed to viral messages.”

Vaccines not 100% effective

sears: But let me ask you this question. If you have the mask on, why should anyone else wear it? You have the mask. You got the vaccine. My God, you are fully protected. You are armored.

No vaccine is 100% effective and masks are not foolproof, so it is wrong to claim that someone who has been vaccinated and wears a mask is “fully protected” or “armored” against COVID-19.

It is true that those who were not vaccinated in September were almost six times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than those who were not vaccinated, according to the CDCs data on rates of COVID-19 by vaccination status. But as the CDC chart below shows, that doesn’t mean there aren’t breakthrough infections that occur in fully vaccinated people.

More recent data shows that in the week ending October 2, there were 91 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population among the vaccinated and about 452 cases per 100,000 among the unvaccinated.

And while studies support the assumption that well-fitting masks can limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission, they do not completely eliminate transmission. The CDC recommends the use of face masks along with: other mitigating measuressuch as social distancing to protect against illness.

For more information, see our SciCheck stories »The evolving science of face masks and COVID-19”, “A Guide to Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine,“ “A Guide to Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine” and “A Guide to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine.”

Worrying Comments From Biden, Harris About Vaccines

sears: In fact, our President, President Biden, and Vice President Harris himself both said they would not trust any vaccine developed by the Trump administration. That was before their election. After their election they sang another song.

We debunks this once before when, in the 2020 presidential election, then-President Donald Trump accused Biden and his running mate, Harris, of spreading “vaccine conspiracy theories.” There was then concern for some in the medical and research communities that Trump would demand the release of a vaccine against COVID-19 ahead of the November 3 election, and before it was proven safe and effective.

Both Harris and Biden said they would rely on a pre-election vaccine approved by scientists if scientists independently determine it to be safe and effective.

In a CNN interview which aired on September 6, 2020, Harris said: “I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump. And it should be a credible source of information that talks about the effectiveness and reliability of whatever he’s talking about. I don’t take him at his word.”

Later in the interview, Harris said that she is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Likewise Biden early on September 7, 2020, whether he would take a COVID-19 vaccine before the election. “I’d like to see what the scientists said,” he said replied. “I want full transparency about a vaccine. One of the problems is the way [Trump] plays with politics. He has said so many things that are not true, I am afraid that if we have a really good vaccine, people will be reluctant to take it. And so he undermines public confidence.”

Both politicians were vaccinated after the election, but while Trump was still in office. Biden received his first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on December 21, 2020, and Harris got her first shot a few days later on December 29.

For more, see “Trump exaggerates progress, credit for future COVID-19 vaccine.”

Serious side effects are rare

sears: We know – and by the way, the media doesn’t tell us that people are suffering as a result of getting the vaccine, that they have all kinds of problems. I understand it might be the minuscule. But if you’re the one of the 30,000 that gets it, it matters to you. So we have to tell the good, the bad and the ugly about the vaccine.

All in all more than 450 million vaccine doses have been administered in the US to date. But in this comment, Sears exaggerates the number of serious side effects of vaccines. And awe have that explained before, the most ccommon side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines Involving injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and fever.

Sears refers to very rare cases where the vaccines can cause more serious problems, such as: anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that “can occur after any type of vaccination”, according to to the CDA. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccines, anaphylaxis has occurred in 2 to 5 people per million, the CDC said, and “healthcare providers can treat the reaction effectively and immediately.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is associated with an increased risk of the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome and a blood clotting disorder known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome or TTS, which occurs largely in women under age 50, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

“As of November 17, 2021, more than 16.2 million doses of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States,” the CDC said:. “CDC and FDA identified 54 confirmed reports of people who received the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and later developed TTS. VAERS [Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System] reports have identified six deaths caused by or directly attributed to TTS following J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccination.”

There is also emerging evidence that the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna can cause inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or the surrounding mucosa (pericarditis) in very rare cases, especially in young men. As of November 17, the CDC and FDA have: confirmed 1822 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis.

These rare serious side effects have been covered extensively in the media, contrary to Sears’ claim. In one case, the FDA and CDC recommended a brief “pause from use” of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while investigating reports of blood clotting syndrome — an unusual step that heavy covered by means of news outlets.

Sears acknowledged that serious side effects are “minuscule,” but adds that “one in 30,000” people experience such serious problems. There is no evidence that the rate of side effects is that high in the general population, as the above figures show. But it may be true for subpopulations — such as the reported incidence of myocarditis in younger men.

In a vaccine safety update dr. Tom Shimabukuro, presented by the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Team to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Oct. 21, provided data on myocarditis and myocarditis with pericarditis, writing that the risk of myocarditis “depends heavily on patient age and sex.”

For example, Shimabukuro, head of the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Team, wrote this about military health system data: “The total number of myocarditis within 7 days of vaccination is 10 cases per million doses, but the risk is highly dependent on the age of the patient.” the patient and sex and vaccine dose and type; rate of myocarditis in younger (under 20) males after the 2nd dose of mRNA vaccine is [greater than] 100 cases per million doses.”

For this reason, the fact sheets for both mRNA vaccines have been revised to include a warning that reads: “Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the mucous membrane outside the heart) have occurred in some people who received the vaccine, more commonly in men under 40 years of age than in women and older men. In most of these people, symptoms started within a few days of receiving the second dose of vaccine. The chance of this happening is very small. You should seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms after receiving the vaccine: chest pain, shortness of breath, fast beating, fluttering or pounding heart.”

However, it is important to note that COVID-19 and other viruses can also cause myocarditis. AN study published by the CDC in early September said, “patients with COVID-19 had nearly 16 times the risk of myocarditis compared to patients who did not have COVID-19, and the risk varied by gender and age.” The authors also said the study supports Earlier determination of CDC that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the risks “in all populations, including adolescents and young adults.”

For more, see “How safe are the vaccines?

Editor’s Note: SciCheck’s COVID-19/Vaccination Project is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The foundation has no control about our editorial decisions, and the views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the foundation. The aim of the project is to increase exposure to accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines, while reducing the impact of misinformation.


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