Health authorities fight vaccine myths

More than five months after the coronavirus vaccines starting becoming available to the public in Ohio, the state is still fighting persistent myths about the properties of the vaccines, including internet rumors about magnetic qualities.

It’s so bad that the Ohio Department of Health hosted a press call this week specifically to address rumors about the vaccines, including the supposed potential for threatening fertility in anyone who receives the shot. The Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, and other experts, including Lisa Egbert, M.D. of Dayton, denied the vaccines have adverse effects on fertility.

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“Those beliefs are unfounded. There is no scientific evidence now or is there a scientific pathway for there to be any ill effects towards fertility, both at the time of vaccination and future fertility,” Egbert said.

They also responded to other statements from anti-vaccine advocates who refer to the coronavirus drugs as “experimental.”  

“There is nothing experimental about these vaccines that we have,” said Dr. Vanderhoff, “sadly the internet is rife with misinformation.”

At an Ohio House of Representatives committee hearing this week on an anti-vaccine bill, two speakers said the vaccines have magnetic qualities. Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, an author and activist, said “I’m sure you’ve seen these pictures of people all over the internet and now they’re magnetized. You put a key on their forehead and it sticks. They can put a spoon or fork all over them and it sticks because now we think there’s a metal piece to that.”

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Video of later testimony in that same hearing from another anti-vaccine advocate went viral this week. Joanna Overholt, a former hospital Intensive Care Unit nurse, pulled out a key and pressed it to her skin.

“Explain why a key sticks to me. If anybody can explain this to me that would be great,” Overholt asked the committee as the key fell back into her hand.

At the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Vanderhoff continues to push for people to follow science rather than internet rumors.

“It is very easy to be confused or misled by some of the information that’s out there,” Vanderhoff said.

Dr. Egbert added, “People just want to believe the bad stuff and not want to believe the good.”