GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — One of the top doctors that helped get federal approval for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine is setting the record straight when it comes to the myths and misconceptions surrounding the shot.
Dr. Arnold Monto is the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee’s acting chair. He’s also an epidemiology professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.
He knows just about every fact and figure about the approved COVID-19 vaccines. However, he can’t understand how or why people continue to believe false information that lacks any sort of scientific data or evidence.
Although credible health organizations post information debunking such myths about the vaccines, the falsehoods continue to spread like wildfire once posted on social media.
“If you believed everything that’s on social media, you’d be out of your mind,” Monto said.
In just a few short months, Monto has heard all sorts of misinformation.
“I’ve been asked a number of times about infertility, which when I first heard it, I said, ‘Oh my God, why are they talking about infertility?’” Monto said. “This vaccine has been used for three or four months now. How do they know anything about infertility?”
He said distrust in a vaccine is nothing new, recalling a similar phenomenon back in 2008 when the H1N1 vaccine was approved.
“There were all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas that came up about potential side effects,” Monto said about the rollout of the H1N1 vaccine.
“We’ve been using that vaccine now for more than 10 years, and we haven’t seen any of these problems,” he said.
Monto is fed up with the falsehoods. There are many things about the vaccine he knows to be true. He says both the vaccines are safe, effective and our only way out of this pandemic.
“I know what the vaccine does, and it protects,” Monto said.
Although Monto helped lead the vaccines’ approval process, he has waited his turn to get the shot.
Since he’s over the age of 65, Monto has an appointment to get his first dose of the vaccine Saturday.
“I’ve been rather eager to get it,” Monto said. “(But) I did want to wait my turn because I’m not involved in direct care right now.”