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COVID-19 vaccines may cause an increase in cancer rates, an increase in mutant gene rates, and an increase in the number of autoimmune reactions.

There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines will lead to an increase in cancer rates, mutant gene rates, or the number of autoimmune reactions.

Vaccines are generally safe, as they undergo rigorous clinical trials before they are approved for use by the general public. Despite this, they can cause occasional side effects, called “adverse events.” These can include allergic reactions, fainting, and certain neurological conditions like encephalitis. Most of the time, these side effects are rare and mild.

There has been an increasing amount of misinformation and disinformation spreading around the effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. In a video published on November 18, Carrie Madej, an osteopath, claims that COVID-19 vaccines may cause an increase in cancer rates, an increase in mutant gene rates, and an increase in the number of autoimmune reactions. However, these claims false.

Firstly, COVID-19 vaccines will not result in anyone developing cancer. Some of the common side effects are tenderness, swelling and/or redness at the injection site, headache, muscle ache, feeling tired, and fever/ high temperature, as noted by the NHS. A less common side effect is swelling of the glands. Moreover, the launch of a vaccine comes with a list of people who are not advised to take the vaccine based on clinical trials, and the list is regularly updated. With 51 million doses of the vaccine administered globally so far, medical research has not identified cancer as a side effect of the vaccine.

Secondly, COVID-19 vaccines do not increase mutant gene rates. According to a paper published in the scientific journal Nature, "the word "mutation" typically refers to a change that affects the nucleic acids. In cellular organisms, these nucleic acids are the building blocks of DNA." In other words, gene mutation is a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence. But as we have noted in a previous check, "mRNA vaccines do not do anything to the DNA in a human cell. They just trigger an immune response by instructing the body's cells to produce the vaccine antigens." The Vaccine Alliance also says that "mRNA is not the same as DNA, and it can’t combine with our DNA to change our genetic code."

Finally, there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines will increase the number of autoimmune reactions. According to MSD Manual Consumer Version, "the immune system sometimes malfunctions, interpreting the body's own tissues as foreign and producing antibodies (called autoantibodies) or immune cells that target and attack particular cells or tissues of the body. This response is called an autoimmune reaction. It results in inflammation and tissue damage."

Madej's claim implies that the COVID-19 vaccine will weaken the immune system leading to people developing autoimmune conditions, but according to Dr. Derrick Rossi, founder of Moderna, "Essentially, vaccines harness your body’s immune system to do what it does on a daily basis.” Moreover, there is currently no data available on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccination in people who already have autoimmune conditions, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said people with autoimmune conditions who have no other contraindications can still receive the vaccine. “No imbalances were observed in the occurrence of symptoms consistent with autoimmune conditions or inflammatory disorders in clinical trial participants who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine compared to placebo,” the CDC has said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.

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