Covid-19 myths and misinformation debunked by the experts – Bournemouth Echo

A host of misinformation surrounding coronavirus continues to spread fear online almost a year since the start of the pandemic.

Coronavirus conspiracies continue to circulate on social media with images and videos spreading false information about the virus.

Dame Donna Kinnair,chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing appeared on BBC News this week and was asked whether myths about vaccines have increased in recent weeks.

She said:I think they have been around for a long time and I believe that we as community leaders or clinical leaders have been slow to react to them.

I can send you at least 10 videos on my WhatsApp, that have been circulated from since about last March with doctors, other professionals you dont know where theyve come from but all you can say about them is theyre clearly anti-vaxxers, and they claim to be protecting the BAME community from something that will harm them.

Dame Donna said there has been real distrust in some communities particularly people from Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia.

Ever since we talked about a vaccine on social media weve had video after video of anti-vaxxers telling people scary things about the vaccine, she said.

So weve got a lot of work to do as community leaders to actually ensure that people get the truth about the vaccine.

She added: Social media influences more people than we perhaps realise, and quite often when I talk to communities, its often the young people in the communities that are hesitant to take the vaccine and influence the older people.

Thats why we say, if youve got concerns about it, speak to a trusted health professional.

Here are some of the latest myths and pieces of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic debunked.

A number of posts have appeared on social media since late last year, featuring claims that vitamin and mineral supplements can cure Covid-19.

Through its Mythbusters service, the World Health Organisation (WHO) put out a fact check on this claim.

It said: Micronutrients, such as vitamins D and C and zinc, are critical for a well-functioning immune system and play a vital role in promoting health and nutritional well-being. There is currently no guidance on the use of micronutrient supplements as a treatment of Covid-19.

Some of the false claims and misinformation around vitamin supplements arrived in October 2020 when numerous studies into their effects were revealed.

However, none have resulted in a concrete claim that vitamin and mineral supplements can cure Covid-19. It is true that vitamins and minerals are great for boosting your immune system, allowing you to be healthy and combat the virus.

There has been a wave of scam Covid-19 vaccination emails making their way into email inboxes.

A fraudulent email posing as an official NHS invitation to be vaccinated will include a link to a website where recipients will be asked to register for the vaccine. The email also asks for bank details, either to verify your identity or to make a payment.

This is a fake website and email - you should not click the link. The legitimate vaccine email requires no such registration.

The NHS has issued a warning over the fake emails on Twitter saying: The Covid-19 vaccine is free of charge on the NHS.

The NHS would never ask for: your bank account or card details, your pin or banking password, Copies of personal documents to prove your identity, such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

You can find out more about the Covid vaccine email scam here.

Another rumour circulated online centres on an alleged connection between the Covid-19 vaccination and infertility in women. There were claims that some women receiving the vaccine then became infertile as a result.

Dr Katherine OBrien from the WHO put this myth to bed. She said: The vaccines we give cannot cause infertility. This is a rumour that has gone around about many different vaccines, and there is no truth to the rumour.

There is no vaccine that causes infertility.

One of the most popular rumours that has appeared online claims that mRNA vaccines alter a person's DNA.

Sara Riordan, President of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, believes these myths grow from concerns that genetic material from the vaccine will mix with their own genetic material.

An mRNA vaccine has no ability to change someones DNA.

Dr Katherine OBrien from the WHO said: We have two vaccines now that are referred to as mRNA vaccines. There is no way that mRNA can turn into DNA, and there is no way mRNA can change the DNA of our human cells.

mRNA is the instructions to the body to make a protein. Most vaccines are made by actually giving a protein, or small component of the germ that we are trying to vaccinate. This new approach, where instead of giving our body that tiny little part, instead we give the instructions to our own bodies to make that tiny little part, and the natural immune system responds to it.

Ms Riordan added: Any mRNA vaccine has the same purpose, to teach and train your body to make an immune response toward a particular pathogen, so if the pathogen gets into your body, your immune system can attack it.

After mask enforcement rules came into place around the world, several posts appeared online claiming that wearing a mask will result in hypercapnia, also known as carbon monoxide poisoning. This is not true.

Carbon dioxide molecules are too small to be controlled by the majority of mask material, ranging from medically produced masks to home made cloth ones.

A good example of this in action is surgeons wearing medical masks for long periods of time, with no ill effects on their carbon dioxide levels.

There are several ways to avoid misinformation regarding the coronavirus pandemic online:

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Covid-19 myths and misinformation debunked by the experts - Bournemouth Echo

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