One of my co-workers broached the subject: Have you been vaccinated?

Three of us just stood there a short moment before I said “Yes.” Our third participant said “No.” When asked why not, we heard two conspiracy theories. The first that the vaccine is made from human embryos, thus she had a religious objection. The second is that we get the virus from “shedding our skin.” That was the first time I heard that, and she caught my curiosity.

The conversation lasted about five minutes before business needed to be looked after. I parted by telling our anti-vaxxer that I would look into both allegations, especially the skin-shedding scenario.

There are a multitude of federal, state and local government sites that confirm that the coronavirus vaccines were not manufactured using aborted fetus cells.

The article goes on to explain that the fetal cells used today were from the Netherlands in 1973 and 1985 elective abortions and have been reproduced in laboratories throughout the world.

“Fetal cell lines … have since multiplied into many new cells over the past four or five decades, creating fetal cell lines. Current fetal cell lines are thousands of generations removed from the original fetal tissue. They do not contain any tissue from a fetus.”

I spent days trying to find an article or social media feed concerning the origins of the skin-shedding theory but was unsuccessful. What I did find was a large number of articles from prestigious publications that relate a rare occurrence of shedding of the skin as a side effect from the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. But the same condition has been related to other vaccines as well.

One such occurrence involved Virginia resident Richard Terrell, 74. Within days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he experienced an itch under his arm. The itch soon became a rash over most of his body, which became inflamed and would eventually peel. Terrell did not catch the COVID-19 virus from peeling skin. That was a result from a very rare allergic reaction to the vaccine.

The virus is transmitted through particles ejected through the mouth or nose by coughing, sneezing, laughing, singing, talking or simply breathing. These particles can attach to exposed skin, which can be transferred to another person by touch.

The touching itself does not cause the infection from the virus. It is when people touch their own eyes, nose or mouth that the virus has “access” to your system.

Asked if the coronavirus can be passed through the skin, Hartford Healthcare emphatically says “No.

The anti-vaxxers are willing to give you an earful of misinformation concerning the vaccines now available. There are the “cause-and-effect” theories that link a person’s illness or death after having the vaccine administered. There are the “big lies” about the vaccines causes infertility or can change your DNA, not to mention the microchip theory that has taken hold.

Why do people believe these outrageous theories? Psychology Today gives three reasons for supporting misinformation and outrageous claims:

  • The desire for understanding and to have certainty.
  • The desire for control and personal security.
  • The desire to maintain a positive self-image.

The answers we accept usually meet our personal view of the world. We seek to find a reason for something to happen that makes sense in our minds. However, the reason may not be correct.

There are fears that “Big Brother” is watching, which sets the basis of the microchip theories. It does not matter if the needle used to administer the vaccines is too small to implant a microchip, people believe it is happening.

There are the fears of the unknown. Almost 350 million dosed of the three vaccines have been administered in the U.S. alone. A few people have had breakthrough infections, but that does not mean the drugs are not successful. It is the breakthroughs that get caught up in the mind of the conspiracy advocate.

In the first week of July there were 268 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Boone County, of which 240 people, or about 90%, were not vaccinated.

From the Centers for Disease Control to the Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, all reliable sources say the same thing: Get your vaccination, even if you had COVID-19.

We can prove our co-worker’s theories are wrong, but our truth does not fit into her reality. You cannot argue with logic when the other person is arguing with emotion and fear.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

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