Calming fears and addressing suspicions of anti-vaxxers

Dec 17, 2021 | News

Elijah Santos, 23, said his girlfriend ended their three-year-long relationship because he got vaccinated.

“She said I’m unclean and that I am now a sheep,” Santos said.

Santos, a videographer, was a part of an active anti-vaccination campaign on Tiktok, following popular anti-vax and anti-mask protestor Chris Sky, who continues to spread fear about vaccines as well as the efficacy of vaccines.

“We were both anti-vax until I got an opportunity to record for a Grammy Billboards conversation in the U.S., and I had to take the vaccines,” Santos said. “This was what caused the break-up.”

Ontario is opening bookings for all Ontarians 18 and older on Monday, Dec. 20, as the Omicron variant sends COVID-19 cases soaring. There were 3,124 new cases reported on Friday.

Medical practitioners and scientists continue to provide information about the benefits of vaccination and warn people of the dangers of being unvaccinated.

For many, social media is their source of information on the pandemic. Platforms such as TikTok and Instagram are a growing ecosystem of misinformation and conspiracies.

“Just recently, Nicki Minaj said her cousin’s friend in Trinidad took the vaccine, and he can not please his woman,” said Toronto hairstylist Jodien Right. The claim was debunked by Trinidad and Tobago health minister Terrence Deyalsingh.

Nevertheless, fears circulate among the anti-vaccine group about the impact of vaccines on sexual function and fertility.

Erin Mandel, the Health Promotion Specialist at the Toronto Public Health, said “there is no reason for people to believe that COVID-19 vaccines would cause infertility.”

Other anti-vaxxers are suspicious about the speed with which the vaccines were developed.

“So why was the vaccine created so quickly?” asked Stef Anderson, a barber in Brampton.

Mandel said an “all hands on deck” approach was made to combat the virus due to its widespread. Hence, fast production.

“The vaccines were rigorously tested before approval and were able to be produced so quickly because vaccine developers shared data that they had been working with for many years,” she said.

Most posts made against the vaccines are about their efficacy.

“The efficacy can change as the virus mutates as different strains become dominant in the community,” Mandel said. “But to date, the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) continue to be very effective against all strains, especially after one receives a booster dose.”

Mandel also urged people to take all necessary precautionary measures although they are vaccinated.

“Vaccination can prevent infection,” she said. “But most importantly, vaccination prevents severe symptoms that may require hospitalization and result in deaths.”