SALT LAKE CITY — A professor of biochemistry at Brigham Young University is waging a war against the disinformation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Joshua Andersen has spent years studying virology. He is often frustrated by the falsehoods circulating on social media about the vaccine.
“I understand we fear what we don’t understand,” Andersen said. “I think just shedding light on how these vaccines work and the safety data is hopefully going to change some minds.”
One of the most common myths he sees claims the ingredients of the vaccine will change the DNA of its recipient.
“There is a myth that RNA is going to permanently change our DNA,” Andersen said. “That is just not possible. With the way our cells work, RNA can’t incorporate into DNA. It can’t change DNA.”
Andersen described the RNA (ribonucleic acid) found in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as a code that activates a person’s immune system to defend itself against the virus.
He says the data proves the vaccine cannot cause a person to contract the virus.
“You cannot get the virus from the vaccine,” Andersen said. “The vaccine just contains one tiny part of the virus, the spike protein. The spike protein cannot turn into the virus”
He hopes people are willing to find the truth and look past the false information. The world now has a strong weapon in the fight against a virus that has claimed more than 500,000 American lives. He doesn’t want to see disinformation get in the way of the vaccine ending the pandemic.
“A lot of research converged to make this moment possible,” Andersen said. “To have a vaccine so quickly available and for it to work as effectively as it does is pretty much a miracle.”
The complete list of myths debunked by Andersen can be found here.