On March 17, 2021, Facebook user Nana Chaligava published a post involving the quotes by Nodar Gogebashvili, “a world-renowned immunologist,” who claims that instead of the announced vaccine, it is planned to put a gene fragment of ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecule into our bodies that will definitely lead to human genome modification, infertility, cancers and other serious diseases in the near future.
The post also offers the quotes by Zurab Kumsiashvili, a medical doctor, who notes that mRNA vaccines will definitely cause infertility, oncological and other serious diseases. Kumsiashvili claims referring to Nodar Gogebashvili that according to vaccine safety surveillance manual, it is better for a healthy man to freeze his sperm before being vaccinated to avoid the infertility problem in the future.
Speaking with Obieqtivi TV on March 18, Tina Topuria, Georgian homeopath, also raised the issue of sperm freezing.
Nana Chaligava refers to Sopiko Sokhadze as the source of information; however, no such information can be searched on the latter’s page at this point. As of March 21, Chaligava’s post has over 1,000 shares.
The claim as if the vaccine causes DNA modification, infertility and other serious diseases is disinformation, because COVID-19 mRNA vaccines contain ribonucleic acid, but they do not cause genetic modification and cancers. Moreover, there is no evidence that COVID-19 mRNA vaccine causes infertility or any problems related to fertility.
- There is no evidence that COVID-19 mRNA vaccine causes infertility or any problems related to fertility.
As for the links between COVID-19 vaccine and infertility, healthline.com has already verified the disinformation. It writes that COVID-19 vaccine does not cause infertility or any problems related to fertility. Dr. Jennifer Conti, medical adviser for Modern Fertility, says
“The rumors are based on the fear that messenger RNA in the vaccine could cause infertility by accidentally attacking a protein in the placenta called syncytin-1, which has a (sort of) similar structure to the coronavirus spike protein. However, these are totally different structures and there is no reason to think this would happen.”
As for the claims as if “according to vaccine safety surveillance manual, it is better for a healthy man to freeze his sperm before being vaccinated to avoid the infertility problem in the future,” neither the safety surveillance manual, nor possible side effects involve any such precautions.
newtral.es has identified the primary source of this conspiracy theory. In December 2020, Ranjith Ramasamy, a reproductive urologist at the University of Miami, said in the interview with American Local10 media outlet that due to the biology of the vaccine against COVID-19, it does not affect male fertility, but they still want to conduct the study to assure men who want to have children in the future that they can get the vaccine. Ramasamy does not recommend sperm freezing in the interview. It is a phrase that the journalism attributes to him and it has been torn out of context.
The research team of the University of Miami explains:
“When asked about what men who are concerned that the vaccine could affect their fertility can do, Ramasamy replied that they can always consider freezing sperm before receiving the vaccine.”
The scientists insist that the phrase is out of context and they do not advise either a fertility evaluation or to go to a semen bank before receiving the vaccine.
“We do not yet have any results from our study; neither is there any reason to believe that the vaccine will have an impact on male fertility,” the researchers note..
The Society for Male Reproduction and Urology (SMRU) and the Society for the Study of Male Reproduction (SSMR) released a joint statement regarding COVID-19 vaccine in men desiring fertility. According to the statement, as of January 9, 2021, there are no data about the impact of the COVID-19 vaccine on male or female fertility.
Moreover, for men, the SMRU and SSMR recommend that:
- The COVID-19 vaccine should not be withheld from men desiring fertility who meet criteria for vaccination.
- COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to men desiring fertility, similar to men not desiring fertility, when they meet criteria for vaccination.
- COVID-19 mRNA vaccines contain ribonucleic acid, but they do not cause genetic modification and cancers.
Among currently available COVID-19 vaccines, only Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were developed using the mRNA technology.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a single-stranded RNA molecule that is capable to leave the cell nucleus and move to the cytoplasm where protein synthesis takes place.
The mRNA technology works as follows: An mRNA molecule delivers the instructions for our cells to make a protein or its fragment. Thus, when the mRNA vaccine enters a cell, it instructs the cell how to synthesize protein on its surface. The cell’s molecules build spike proteins. The mRNA from the vaccine is eventually destroyed by the cell, leaving no permanent trace.
Once the mRNA enters the cell, a relevant protein is produced on its membrane, through which the cell informs the immune system that if such protein appears in the body, the body should mobilize its defense system to neutralize the virus. Therefore, the mRNA transmits the above information to the parts of the cell in which proteins are produced and destroyed several hours after performing their function. Due to this, it cannot reach the cell nucleus where our genetic material - DNA - is located.
It means that none of the vaccines interact with or alter human DNA in any way, and therefore cannot cause cancer. Furthermore, researchers began exploring how to use mRNA vaccines as a new way to treat cancer long before this technology was used against the coronavirus. Thus, COVID-19 mRNA vaccine simply helps generate an immune response.
As for the primary sources of information, Nodar Gogebashvili and Zurab Kumsiashvili spread similar fake reports earlier as well. Zurab Kumsiashvili was one of those Georgian doctors who spread information about creation of fake drugs against COVID-19.
Prepared by Mariam Topchishvili
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