No, vaccination does not cause COVID-19 to mutate faster
No, vaccination does not cause COVID-19 to mutate faster

No, vaccination does not cause COVID-19 to mutate faster

Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled Senate has made an invoice which would count past COVID-19 infection as immunity, a sure sign that the partisan struggle over the state’s pandemic response will continue to rumble together.

The bill was passed on February 15, 2022 and will almost certainly be vetoed when it reaches Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ desk.

But the body’s discussion of the bill underscored the deep rift between Evers and Republican members of the Legislative Assembly on how to end the pandemic.

That discussion also included misinformation about COVID-19 vaccination from Senator Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma.

“Over-vaccination causes faster mutation of the virus, causing a supervirus that we may not have the ability to fight,” Felzkowski told his Senate colleagues during the speech.

She is far away from base.

Let’s break it down.

Vaccines do not cause COVID to mutate faster

Felzkowski’s office did not respond to a request for evidence in support of her claim.

In any case, the claim is inaccurate, said Ajay Sethi, an associate professor of public health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

The virus will always try to mutate to guarantee its own survival and avoid people’s immunity, Sethi said in an email – and it does not matter if the immunity comes from a vaccine, from a previous infection or both. In other words, it does not mutate faster because people are vaccinated.

Politifact National rated a similar claim as false May last year, when a French virologist said that vaccination creates the virus variants.

In that fact check, Dr. Sarah Fortune, chair of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, the same conclusion as Sethi did.

“Either people will get sick and get COVID-19 and the virus is trying to escape that immune selection, or people can be vaccinated and the virus will try to escape that immune selection,” Fortune said. “Avoiding vaccination will not limit the development of the virus.”

In fact, vaccinations play a role in slowing down mutations in the virus.

Each new infection gives the virus another chance to mutate. Although it is possible for people who have been vaccinated to become infected with COVID-19, research shows that it is less likely to get the shot. Data from Wisconsin Department of Health Servicesshows, for example, that in December 2021, unvaccinated individuals tested positive for the virus at a rate three times higher than those vaccinated.

Vaccinated people who get the virus also have one shorter disease courses than unvaccinated people, Sethi said, reducing time and thus the possibility of it spreading further, giving it a greater chance of mutating.

As for Felzkowski’s claim of a “supervirus”, it is possible that a variant that can evade all forms of immunity may develop. But as explained above, it would not be caused by vaccinations – it would be caused by uninhibited spread of the virus through the population.

“If the next Variant of Concern circumvents immunity from vaccines, immunity from previous infections and monoclonal antibody treatments, it’s because society allowed the virus to continue to spread, evolve and mutate into new variants,” Sethi said.

Our verdict

Felzkowski said “overvaccination” causes the COVID-19 virus to mutate faster, which can produce a virus that humans may not be able to fight.

But state and national experts agree that the virus seeks to avoid any form of immunity in order to stay alive, not just immunity to vaccines. In fact, vaccines may play a role in slowing the mutation of the virus because vaccinated people are less likely to become infected and tend to recover more quickly.

We consider her claim to be false.


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